Those family rituals we used to have

One evening recently I was looking through my kitchen window at a fiery orange glow on the eastern horizon, through neighbouring trees. It was the rising almost-full moon, just beautiful. I wondered if my daughter would be taking her sons on a moon walk.

When they were quite small, it was a regular thing, parental schedules and sleep times allowing. Often in their pjs, the boys and one or both parents, and sometimes neighbours, would stroll down the street for a couple of hundred metres and back, enjoying the brightness of the moonlight.

Such family rituals are the stuff of nostalgia for adults. I never did the moon walk with my children but I wish I’d thought of it.

Growing up in Sydney’s western suburbs, one of my favourite rituals was gathering on our front porch to watch a building electrical storm approaching from the east. Sydney puts on wonderful thunder and lightning shows! They say some people love the ozone produced by storms and lightning and I’m one of them.

In the small New Zealand town where I lived for 12 years when my children were small, we had rain. Frequent rain. Usually it rained. Or was about to. Almost daily, rain. But no spectacular lightning shows such as Sydney has.

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Maybe four times in those 12 years, late in the afternoon, an electrical storm would slowly approach the town from the snow-clad mountain to the northwest. I’d get quite excited about it, and would take my girls out onto the street to watch the black clouds shot through with yellow streaks of electricity – but then the raindrops would arrive and we’d scurry inside. I’m sure the neighbours thought their Aussie neighbour a bit odd.

I still love a good sound and light sky show.

In that rainy NZ town, especially in the school holidays, it was easy to become housebound by the rain. But regularly, our rainy day Puddle and Gardens ritual would kick in. With or without gumboots, with raincoats or umbrellas, we’d go out for a Puddle and Gardens Walk. The smaller ones were delighted to splosh and splash in and out of puddles, the older ones joining in sooner or later, while I enjoyed the fabulous scents in the damp air of the lovely flowers in most front yards. It was a stop and start outing, between puddles and roses, but energising and great fun.


Did you have shared family rituals such as these when you were young? Do your grandchildren get to enjoy their own special family things that happen just now and then?