Hot Cocoa and Flo Rida
With the holidays behind us, I have been looking back on the excitement and chaos that ensued over holiday season. This year we had family from near and far visit and celebrate with us. It was the first year in over two decades that we were together under one roof. I spent weeks preparing and planning to make sure that everyone, especially my kiddos (ages 5 and 7), had a memorable holiday, steeped in tradition. As with most things in life, the most memorable moments are the ones that don’t necessarily go as planned.
So every year as part of our holiday traditions, on Christmas Eve the whole family loads into the car after dinner, and we drive around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights. In years past, my kid’s anticipation was palpable. They always looked forward to being allowed to bring cups of hot cocoa and popcorn into the car. They were eager to belt out the Christmas carols that flowed from the radio. My kids couldn’t wait to stay up a little later then usual to take in all the colors and sights.
As I prepared the hot chocolate this year, I had a feeling that things were going to be a little different. I heated the milk on the stove and began to pour it out into the cups. A voice from the living room yells, “Mom…can I have cappuccino instead of hot chocolate?” What? Cappuccino? Do you even know what Cappuccino is? Needless to say I continued to pour the hot cocoa.
Next we rounded up the kids, got them dressed in their pajamas, and we headed out for our yearly tour. We pulled out of the driveway and within minutes, the complaints started coming. “I’m hot.” “I’m cold.” “Can we have our iPads?” I raised the volume of the radio to drown out the complaints. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was playing. “Ahhh, they love this song”, I thought to myself. We all sang along for the remaining 2 minutes and 36 seconds…no complaints. The next holiday song came on and apparently it didn’t have enough beat. The next was “too old school.” The next…well you can see how this is going. Before long I had used up all my song skips on the Pandora Holiday Kids radio station.
My oldest son asks, “Can you switch it to Flo Rida?” Now I love Flo Rida, but my mouth started to open to meet this request with a big fat “NO.” It’s was Christmas after all, and we have always only listened to Christmas carols during our annual lights tradition. But instead of a reply, I closed my mouth, exhaled, and found a clean version of a Flo Rida song for us to listen to.
To my surprise the kids instantly started singing, they stopped complaining and began to look out the window at the houses adorned with dancing lights and colors. Song after song we all sang and danced in our seats, all the while enjoying the scenery. It really didn’t matter what was playing on the car radio, it was more about who was in the car. As I sat there and listened to the music and watched the kids having fun, I realized that letting the kids create their own traditions, was way better then forcing them to recreate mine!