I've said it before but I'm a huge fan of traditions. Especially now that I have my own boys to make traditions and family memories with.
Last week, my wheels started turning as I anticipated this week.
The week that Tanner started Pre-School!
No doubt, we knew he would love it. Love putting on his TOMS for school, although it was sad to see the flip-flops go after living in them all summer, but new shoes represent a new season. Especially when it comes to school.
And he was excited about his cool backpack, which as I packed the night before, realized it was gapingly empty! What does a Pre-Schooler put in a backpack? A snack and.... what else? Well, a snack works great! Into the backpack, down into the dark abyss of nothingness, went his Wheat Thins and grapes, surrounded by... nothing! The days will come when his snacks get pushed to the side, or crammed in a side pocket, making room for books and homework and PE clothes, but for now, I am quite alright that his backpack holds just snacks.
But I digress...
In anticipation for the start of Pre-School, I attempted to squeeze every possible moment of summer out before suddenly Tuesday and Thursday mornings are occupied with drop-offs, pick-ups, and I can bet, an absurd amount of crafts covered with glue and Cheerios.
The last summer moments were poured into trips to the mall to pet the doggies, pool swims, hot dogs, drinking too much Chik-Fil-A lemonade, taking walks around the lake, listening to music and dancing around the house, watching Tanner and Bryan stand-up paddle with Uncle Drew at the beach, and my favorite, sitting on blankets after naps and reading books, while watching the sun melt into the bushes behind us.
There. Went. Summer.
The thought came to me~ starting a tradition before the boys head off to Pre-School, a memory- making- event, one in which they choose with their individual taste, and together we tackle a project together, and have something for years to come.
We'll make a blanket together! Kids love blankets.
Off we went. Singing Veggie Tales Sunday School songs as loud as we could in the car, even Ty attempting to sing along, we were on an adventure to JoAnn's to pick out the perfect fleece material for Tanner's blanket.
And boy does JoAnn's have fleece. Rows of it. Hundreds of options. You name it, they probably have it.
I told Tanner on the way, that he could choose any fleece he wanted for his blanket. It's so important to let kids, as early as they can, pave their own creative, individual path. Yes, as parents, we give them options and healthy choices, but in this setting, I was eager with anticipation to see what my sweet T would gravitate towards.
Because honestly, inside I was praying he'd pick out something really cool. A pattern that would go with his surfing room, maybe something with blue's and green's. For some reason, in the back crevice of my mind, behind the compartment saved for dessert ideas, I vaguely recalled him mentioning something about wanting to choose Spiderman!
I have no idea where this kid saw Spiderman. But suddenly, he's all about it! Spiderman undies, Spiderman action figures. I'm pretty sure he saw Spiderman when we were cloud-watching last week!
Nevertheless, he walked the aisles. Looking at the colors and patterns. He'd ask me to reach for a bolt up high, take another look, and then decide against it. Until he saw it. At the end of the row. On the bottom. A blue fleece with crocodiles on skateboards.
Yes, I thought. Now, this is cool.
"You sure this is the one you want, bud?"
"Yea, it's really cool!"
Alright then. He grabbed the bolt of fabric, and half carried, half dragged it towards the table, towards the lady who cuts fabric to size.
We were almost there. Maybe two more steps to go. Until it happened.
He spied Spiderman fleece!
And the rest is history. I took one look at his sweet face, the smile that climbed up to his ears, and the fact that he was literally jumping up and down, and I knew Spiderman had joined our blanket project.
Tanner helped me carry the bag of Spiderman fleece to the car, held it the entire way home, and once home, assisted me in laying out the fleece to cut in half, and then lay on top of each other. He even grabbed the can of pins and watched as I pinned the corners, so the fleece wouldn't move as I cut.
He gently instructed me "not to cut Spiderman's face" as I used scissors along the perimeter of the material.
Once the fleece appeared like a Navajo blanket, with vertical slashes along the edges, Tanner helped me tie the knots to complete our newfound tradition. He giggled as we held the fleece and made a double knot. Sometimes pushing Ty out of the way, he was intent on being my big helper to the end. Once in a while he'd get distracted and run to the toy bin, or kung-fu his imaginary friend, but would always come back to check in on our progress.
At last the final knot was tied, and his Spiderman blanket was complete!
Success! The blanket tradition had begun!
That night, along with his typical family prayers, and ending with hopes of dreaming of Santa Claus and ice cream cones, I'm pretty sure he dreamt of Spiderman adventures as he slept with his new blanket.
The blanket that he chose!
That he will love!
That will keep him company on an abundance of future adventures!
It was one of my favorite Tanner memories to date.
Here's to hoping Ty doesn't choose Superman when his turn comes :)