Family traditions are a wonderful way to build family unity. They create a sense of family identity and purpose, along with lasting memories that help bind families together across generations.
While we continue to participate in some of the traditions that have been carried on in our families for generations, such as holiday traditions, family home evening, and family prayer, we have also established some new family traditions.
One of those new traditions started when Jordan turned 16 last year. He, being the oldest, was the first recipient of an unprecedented present for this special birthday: a three-day trip with Mom and Dad to anywhere in the continental United States.
He has been fascinated with roller-coasters since he was five-years-old, and has spent many hours reading about thrill rides around the globe. We were not surprised when he decided to take us to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio – the roller-coaster capital of the world.
Since the park was closed for the winter before he received this gift, we postponed the trip until this past weekend. It was definitely a trip to remember, and a tradition that will be sticking around.
Before hitting the park, we spent a day visiting some church historical sites in Kirkland, about an hour and a half from Sandusky. It was humbling to learn more about the early pioneers of our church, and how much devotion they had to their newfound faith.
I was thrilled to see this as we wandered around Kirtland:
We spent four years in Ohio, and I sure do miss it this time of year.
After a few hours of historical sightseeing, which I wish could have lasted longer, we set out for the place that we had come so far to visit. Have I told you that I am not really a roller-coaster lover? I really do not like heights, and those tall drops pretty much scare me silly. I have no idea why I consented to riding the Magnum XL-200 as soon as we walked into the park. (Photo Source)
There was no line, and it was the first thing we came to, so I consented. I actually didn’t realize that it had a 195-foot drop right there at the beginning. I’m happy to say that I did it, but I would probably not do it again!
I did ride several other crazy coasters that were not quite as steep on that first drop. I learned that I really love loops, twists, turns, and corkscrews…just not drops. I was actually rather proud of myself…until:
The three of us stood in line for two hours to ride the Gatekeeper, which featured a 170-foot inverted drop.
After standing under it and watching for two hours, I had plenty of time to talk myself out of riding it…which I did…and, of course, I regret it!
However, I do not regret sitting on the sidelines while Jordan rode Millennium Force, with its 310-foot lift hill. No, thank you!
That was his favorite ride, but I have no doubt that I was much happier sitting on a bench with my hubby for three hours while he rode it!
It was a great trip, complete with beautiful weather, breathtaking fall leaves, faith-promoting church historical sites, the thrill of watching my oldest son having the time of his life, and a whole lot of good (not-so-healthy) food…like these buckeyes, which brought us back to our Ohio State days in a big way.
While neither Greg or I are roller-coaster buffs, and we would never have chosen Cedar Point as the ideal vacation spot, it was so much fun to take this trip with Jordan. We were able to see him in his element while bonding, making memories, and having a wonderful experience together, without the distractions that tend to make connecting difficult on a daily basis. I think it was the best 16th birthday present ever…and it wasn’t even my birthday!
I am excited to see where the other kids choose to go when it is their turn.
Does your family have any fun traditions? Please feel free to share in the comments section. They don’t have to be big ones like this. Sometimes the best traditions are the simple ones.
This is part of a 31-day series about small and simple things. You can read the rest of the series here.