Wednesday, June 19, 2013

the beginning of summer.

I know summer begins at the solstice, technically.  But for us, summer begins with strawberries.  For the past four years, our summer has begun with a tradition of heading down into the Valley to pick strawberries.  I have been writing recently about traditions and how they form.  As a new mom, I thought a lot about traditions, rituals, celebrations, and values.  How does one begin traditions, particularly if one is starting from scratch?  What rituals will we partake in?  What will our celebrations look like?   What are the values I want to instill in my children, the values that will guide our daily family life?  These questions felt important and daunting at the same time. 

I have learned that the best traditions often form organically.  There is no plan.  It starts as something spontaneous, and then there is a moment of magic when we realize it is something we must do again, over and over.  Thus, a family tradition is born.

Strawberry picking for us has become one of those magical traditions.  We typically go on the last day of school, but with school ending so late this year, we opted to start our summer a little early.  The magic happens when we arrive and the kids see the abundance of berries.  When they taste their first ripe strawberry and a fruit-induced giddiness takes a hold of their small bodies. Their excitement is heard through squeals of joy.  This year we all enjoyed watching the baby on her first trip to the strawberry fields as an active participant.  She quickly learned how to pick her own strawberries and delighted in celebrating the start of summer in the fields, under the warm sun, drenched in sticky red goodness.  It is now officially summer.

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