When I think of my childhood, many images come to mind. I remember making Christmas cookies with my mom in the kitchen. I remember my dad teaching me to play baseball and basketball. I remember waiting for the box of Platter’s Orange Chocolates from my Grandma Baker to be delivered every Easter.
As I look back on my life and especially looking through the eyes of a parent, I have a renewed appreciation for traditions.
They say children are creatures of habit, and mine are absolutely no exception. After we moved to Menifee, it became rapidly apparent that it was time to start forging new traditions that would make the kids feel more at home, so we began exploring the town and attending community events.
We attended Menifee’s Father’s Day Campout, Independence Day Celebration, Movies in the Park, and the Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium Scout Night. Last week, we once again attended the Menifee Birthday Bash at Mt. San Jacinto Jr. College.
The kids look forward to it every year. We got to see some wonderful musical performances and the kids got to do some creative games and crafts hosted by the M.A.R.S. program. The highlight of the kids' evening, of course, is always the Gale Webb Extreme Sports show. The kids love to watch the performers doing jumps and flips on their bikes, skates and scooters. This year they even had Ryder, the 6-year-old son of one of the performers, doing his stunts for the kids and carrying on the family tradition.
This isn’t the only tradition I appreciate, though. Sometimes things start small. I get Thursdays and Sundays off from work. Every Thursday I get to drop my kids off at school and run errands with Joshuah, who is now 19 months old. This is something I look forward to immensely every week.
We talk about things, he says a lot, and some of it I’m even beginning to understand. He’s very independent, always wanting to try to dress himself or feed himself. I like to think it’s because he sees everyone else doing it themselves, and he wants to participate on the same level as everyone else. He very clearly has an imagination and it’s incredibly fun to watch.
One tradition that is coming up for many people is Halloween. We at the Baker Homestead are bracing ourselves for the forthcoming onslaught of Trick-or-Treaters. Joshuah can tell something is going on, but this will be the first Halloween that he will really be able to participate in, since last year he was pretty much a cute little lump in a lion costume. I can’t wait for this year.
For those looking to start a new Halloween tradition, perhaps try the Halloween Costume Contest and Parade sponsored by Menifee 24/7 at Wheatfield Park Oct. 30, the night before Halloween. Starting at 6 p.m. by the flag pole on the Menifee Road side, there will be a parade for those dressed up, a costume contest, followed by fun and games for all. Adults are welcome to play, too.
This time of year, as we steadily approach the holiday season, I am reminded of how important these traditions are. What are some things, large or small, that you do to make your time with your family special?
David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.