The Grass is Always Greener…

By , June 17, 2008 8:59 am

The other day my oldest daughter (age 7) discovered a book that was tucked away in a basket by my toilet. It is The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays & Everydays by Meg Cox. As the title suggests, it is filled with all kinds of really fun, new family traditions for holidays or ordinary days. There are many examples of real families and their unusual and very original traditions.

Although my intentions were good when I bought the book (I wanted to create some new family rituals), and despite having read quite a bit of it, I have not yet incorporated any of the ideas into our lives.

My daughter appeared in the kitchen with the book in her hand. “Mom,” she said, “can we do some of these? Because I think our family is boring.”

After I finished mentally half laughing and half crying, I was able to clear my brain of its spontaneous outburst of uncharitable thoughts and realize where this comment came from.

One of my daughter’s best friends (an only child) had been going on a “knitting date” with her Mom (my friend Wishy) after summer camp that day. A trip to the knitting store, followed by some Mom and daughter time knitting together was so exciting that Wishy’s daughter had even run over to tell me all about it when I arrived to pick up my two children.

I explained to my daughter that although our family might seem “boring” compared to some others, she needed to remember that 1) Unlike some children, she had siblings to play with; 2) Most other families that she knows have two ever-present parents (my husband is only here two or three weekends a month); and 3) Only-children have both their parents’ undivided attention. Compare all this to me who has to care for three children 24/7 almost exclusively by myself, and you certainly have the recipe for a BORING FAMILY in the eyes of a 7 year-old.

My daughter actually seemed satisfied with this explanation and happily skipped off to play with her brother. I, however, began to brood about how nice it would be to have time to go on knitting dates with my daughter, or take the kids to the pool more, or bake cookies with them without being begged for days.

I mentioned this conversation to my friend Wishy, and confessed to being a bit jealous of her ability to take her daughter on “knitting dates.” She just laughed and explained that the only reason that they had done the “knitting date” in the first place, was that she had tired of her daughter’s whining about how boring her family was compared to my daughter’s, where there were always at least three kids running around in chaos. Plus, apparently we do “cool projects” (she was here for our Unplugged Project once – “paint”).

We shared a good chat and laugh over this. I was pleased to think that any family inadequacies perceived by my daughter (or me) were all due to perspective. The grass IS always greener on the other side of the fence.


Photo thanks to photographer Jim Munnelly and

6 Responses to “The Grass is Always Greener…”

  1. Kayris says:

    That’s so funny!

    Some of our best family traditions have been completely unplanned. For example, this past Christmas, my H had his heart set on going to a tree farm anc cutting down our own tree. I didn’t want to do it, but as I get my way 99% of the time, I figured it was his turn. I actually enjoyed myself, the kids thought it was cool, and the tree was awesome. It didn’t drop hardly any needles! Anyway, we’ve decided to make it a yearly thing.

    BTW, my carrot snails post is up.

  2. Candy Cook says:

    You know how to cure boredom, right? My pops was great at curing boredom – he just had to mention a chore and suddenly us kids all had something much more interesting to do. LOL

    But, seriously.. a great “ritual” that we engage in is a 15 minute expedition. We take 15 minutes out of each day to do something we never would normally have done that day. Something like, write messages on the street that drivers will see as they go down the road.. or investigate where a sound is coming from on a dark evening walk, or catch a bug to inspect.. or try to sneak up as close as we can get to a rabbit.. or take a nap or read a book in the hammock.. sometimes the activity just comes naturally.. but, you have to keep your eyes and ears open for it. Just 15 minutes to add a little adventure into your day. I know I have boys, but I really can’t imagine trying to sit down and KNIT with them LOLOL

    Candy Cooks last blog post..Little Big Man

  3. Dana says:

    What great insight! As the mom of an only child, I KNOW she thinks her friends with “lots” of siblings have such a “better” life. So many kids to play with! Always someone to do something with! Sounds like “heaven” to her. :-)

    Danas last blog post..What We’ve Been up to this First Week of Summer

  4. Andrée says:

    Oh geez! But I think that she, like all kids, is testing reactions and flexing fledgling independence thoughts. Easy for me to say, huh? But this is such a great post. My kids, in their thirties now, think my life SO boring that it’s difficult to entice them to Vermont. So when do parents and kids finally find a meeting ground? LOL

    Andrées last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Farmer Bob’s Heifers: Oreo

  5. What a laugh! I had this very same conversation with my children today. I ignored it unlike you who found the wisdom to teach into it. Well done. I’ll remember this now for the next time it is suggested our family is boring!

    Belinda Letchfords last blog post..Updated Categories

  6. bobbie says:

    ohh what good timing.. i have just been writing about this on my blog!!

    it came to my attention about a tradition we had that others dont blogged here

    so then I decided that i will do some posts on traditions – birthday christmas, easter, miscellaneous here is my birthday traditions blog – I am thinking of starting up a few of these for our family, I linked to your knitting party post – hope that is ok

    please blog some of the traditions from the book!!


    bobbies last blog post..What? Another celebration??

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