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October 1, 2019
Happy October! In my house, October means the beginning of the holidays! My kids love to decorate the house with Fall and Halloween decorations. It became a sort-of tradition in our house to do this on October 1.
After October 1, it’s full speed ahead as my kids look forward to all of the special celebrations in the months to come. It’s funny because my husband and I come from very different backgrounds. We grew up celebrating many of the same holidays but sometimes in very different ways. Together as we began to raise our babies we began incorporating our traditions into one. Honestly, we never really sat down and decided what we would do, we just did it.
Looking back, I have realized that these traditions that we started in our home have brought our kids so much joy over the years.  It has also provided a sense of comfort knowing that we celebrate special moments in our own unique ways and that it is fun to join traditions and share these moments with those we love.
I too cherish these days and look forward every year to these celebrations. When my kids were small, I began to celebrate almost every holiday that has ever existed as an opportunity to remind them of my love for them. Sometimes this meant a special breakfast or a special note in the morning and other times the celebrations were bigger. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter. Any excuse to celebrate those you love is a good one!
With the holidays just around the corner, I challenge you to review how and why you celebrate what you do and create new traditions of your own. Perhaps for birthdays you can designate a special plate that your and your child make together and the birthday person of the house eats breakfast on it year after year. Maybe your house is the designated Thanksgiving house or you love the Fourth of July! What about a “Friendsgiving celebration” where you celebrate the gift of friendship. Be creative! I also encourage you to invite your friends and families of different faiths to your celebrations. Learning from other traditions broadens your mind and helps your kids grow up with a more open mind. Whatever it is, taking the time to celebrate happy moments is always worth it!
The other day, one of my patients is working hard to strengthen her baby boy who was born prematurely and has to receive most of his feeds via  a g-tube. She told me she is planning a big celebration the day he can have his g-tube removed! So awesome right? That’s truly a reason to celebrate!
The opportunities are endless! Take the time to create traditions within your families. Make it fun and meaningful. October for me is about gratitude. It is the time of year that the shops are filled with reminders of the holidays. (too many sometimes!) This year, I want you to focus less on what you can buy for the holidays and more on what traditions you can start with your families. Find the meaning in the simple and fun. Sometimes we as parents think that because we don’t have money or we live in a modest home that we can’t celebrate like other families do. Don’t ever let this discourage you.
You want to know a secret? When your kids are adults, they will never remember what gifts they got on their birthday or for Christmas or Hanukkah. What they will remember is how they felt, who was there and how much they were loved. Happy Tuesday!
Elizabeth Vainder, M.D., F.A.A.P

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