Those family rituals we used to have 12



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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.

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?

Fran Goodey

Frances Goodey is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two primary school age boys. With six brothers and two sisters, she was raised in Sydney and later lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Brisbane. She is an avid reader and has had some small success with children's stories being published in New Zealand and Australia. Both she and her husband are retired, and her daughters live in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sydney and Frankfurt.

  1. I am glad you enjoyed it but when it comes to lightening I try to make sure I am not outside..cheers

  2. Nobody does that anymore, they sit at their computers and wouldn’t know that world war 3 had broken out !

  3. I used to enjoy lying on the grass with my kids looking at the fluffy white clouds and picking out the shapes. A bunny rabbit, a dog, a face and lots of things. I now look at the stars with my grandchildren to work out which one is Pop 🙂

    1 REPLY
    • Yes i loved doing this with my girlfriend on a warm summer evening on cooch grass which was lovely and spongy

  4. One of our best things we do is. Every night at the Dinner Table we ask each person what the best part of their day was. The Grandchildren love it & it teaches them to talk about their feelings & why they loved it.

  5. We all loved watching lighting even our dogs were out side with us ,when our children were young. A special family time.

  6. Fran I too lived in Sydney’s Western suburbs as a kid and relate to your story about approaching storms. An Aunty lived on Gunamatta Bay, in Cronulla and as regular as clockwork in hot weather, the sky would darken as we watched the “southerly buster” flying up the bay. Mind you, after a tree in our yard, just a few fee from our back door, was struck by lightening, I still enjoyed the light show, but cringed from it’s fury.

  7. Mother always said “carry an umbrella when in Sydney and a cardigan when in Melbourne”

  8. Mum lived in Sydney at McMahon’s point on the harbour and loved the storms. My father as a kid lived in Yunta SA and the Birdsville track and his love were the night skies.

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