This past Sunday was surfboard sheets day.
It’s usually always in May, but not on a specifically designated day. It’s whatever day I decide is making me feel like summer is close AND in which I have time to wash the winter sheets. On that day it’s time to break out the surfboard sheets and say hello to summer!
I don’t know if other people have seasonal bedding. Or seasonal couch pillows. Or seasonal lamp shades. I have all of these and so does my mom. My grandma did too. The older I get the more I discover things I do or say, traditions I hold onto, that have come down from one generation to the next. Another way to say this is that I seem to be turning – unavoidably – into my parents and my grandparents.
Here are a few examples.
1. My bed has sheets for summer (surfboards! and pillows with orange anchors on them, plus a delightful new orange duvet cover that Grace is completely horrified by), and then other sheets for the rest of the year – Mom
2. I fear running out of microwave popcorn – Dad
3. When I stir Hershey’s syrup into my girls’ vanilla ice cream I tell them I’m making an “ancient Norwegian recipe” – Grandpa
4. I always take down my Christmas tree before New Years because a) it’s bad luck to have it up when the New Year comes and b) it’s important to start the new year with a clean slate for home decorating – a) Grandma; b) Mom
5. Conversely, I always put my Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving because that’s when Christmas starts – Mom, Grandma and lots of other people too, judging by how early the Christmas decorations are in the stores.
6) I feel better when there is an ample supply of toilet paper in the closet – Dad
7) I have an inordinate number of moles – everyone in my entire family
8) I’m a very impatient driver – Mom
These aren’t the most revelatory examples. And I probably don’t even realize some of the ways I am like my parents, or my siblings. The main thing is that I love the idea that we are all connected in both big and small ways. We spend the holidays together and we talk to the people in the car in front of us as though they can hear us. We like Stove Top stuffing at Thanksgiving and look forward to meeting up on the corner dressed in red, white and blue to watch the 4th of July parade together every year.
What’s cool about this sense of tradition and shared experience is that it has made me who I am, and I can see it making my kids into who they will be. They love our family traditions, including little ones at home like changing the beds to the summer sheets. No doubt my daughters will someday marry a guy who wonders why they have to have different sheets for summer or place mats for every holiday. But hopefully those guys will be as easygoing as my husband and just say, “Oh, those are cool sheets!”
Until then I’ll just keep the traditions alive and think of my Grandma every time I put on my Sperry Top-Siders.