Brady and his PB&J

My husband gives me a hard time that I am not sentimental.

My husband grew up in a family with many traditions. My Mother-in-Law is the Queen of the holidays.  They made annual pilgrimages to pumpkin patches, wrote letters to the Easter bunny and my Mother-in-Law decorates her house from nook to cranny with Christmas decorations.

My family’s 12 months of holiday decorations fit in one drawer.

But I have amazing memories of my childhood and the special things we did together as a family.  As the holidays approach and as my own kids get older, I wonder what traditions they’ll remember from their childhood.

Sometimes it’s not the planned traditions, but the littlest things that stick with you into adulthood.

A few weeks ago, I sat on the grass with my kids and our picnic lunch.  As I bit into that familiar combination of peanut better and my mom’s homemade strawberry jam, I was instantly “home.”

I think about times in my life that these simple sandwiches have meant so much to me.  In college, when my budget, time and cooking skills all meant I was eating a lot of pb&js, pulling out that jar with the handwritten label and sitting on a yard sale couch with my sandwich, I could feel my mom’s love there with me.

My dear friend writes a food blog called “Eat the Love” (check it out, he’s amazing).  He tells the story of his blog’s name, about how a vegan friend of his puts aside his strict eating guidelines when he goes home to the South to visit his grandma.  When he is there, he eats all the meatloaf, fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits she puts in front of him “because when you eat the food that someone makes for you, you are eating their love. You are eating the love.”  This quote gives me the happy chills every time I read it.

Now, as I feed my kids that same jam that my mom makes every year, I am feeding my kids my love for them and her love for them and her love for me.

So, I may never have a mantel full of tiny nutcrackers, but one day, my kids will be at the park with their kids and eating sandwiches with homemade jam that I made for them.  And they will know how much I love them.

And I get sentimental just thinking about it.