My family does not have a lot in the way of traditions. Sure, we have some that have developed over the years, but considering there are six of us and almost 27 years, they are rare.
One tradition that has established itself in the last year or so for Joseph and I is the morning paper. We've never been current events people. Sure, we watched the main headlines but we aren't politically inclined most of the time and we don't have set causes that we follow closely. Most of our headline reading is online at CNN and the like. However, we started getting the local newspaper a year ago because of . . . . the editorials? No. The sports coverage? Heavens, no. The tv listings? Hardly.
No, we got it for one reason: the comics. We have always loved reading the comics and this tradition has grown out of it.
When our oldest was little, before she could read, she would crawl up on Joseph's lap and he would read the comics out loud to her. It was very sweet to watch. He would point to each panel and use different voices to read the characters. She would giggle even when she had no idea what the comic even meant (challenging to understand Doonesbury at 4!) and I knew it was just because she loved sitting there with him.
So, fast forwarding to today. . . . each morning, we meet at the kitchen table (usually around 9:30) and together, we read the comics. (No, I don't crawl up on his lap to do so as that would lead to things other than reading the comics) Normally he has been up for an hour or more by the time I make an appearance, but he waits to read them until I get there. If one of us happens to read the comics first, without the other, we usually check in to make sure everything is all right--no one is upset, right? Whew.
So, on the average morning, I sit next to him and it begins. He pulls out the correct section ("How We Live") and turns to the comics page. He tears it in half and always gives me the page that has the most comics on it. Although he tends to read each comic, I just read the ones I like.
As we read, we forewarn the other one of what's coming when we switch pages. He will say, "You'll love 'Adam at Home' today" and I will say, "I am worried about Sally Forth's husband". We both chuckle over "Luann" and constantly miss "Foxtrot". We read "Baby Blues" and remember when we had babies in arms. We read "Zits" and constantly see our own kids mirrored in Jeremy's teenage antics. We read "Pickles" and realize how much their relationship reminds us of our own. We then switch pages and soon are chuckling at the very thing the other one predicted we would. Occasionally, I cut one out and put it on a child's door or slip it into a letter I am writing. Later, off and on, Joseph and I will discuss what is happening in a comic strip and wonder/worry/chuckle about what is happening to the people in it. I realize that, in many ways, those characters are quite real to me.
Of course, once the comics are over, we tend to move on to other sections. I usually read the rest of the "How We Live" section because I like reading book and movie reviews and am always looking for play reviews. Joseph tends to go for the sections on food and cooking, as well as anything science-related. Almost without fail, he will find something that he needs to read out loud to me. I love that when he discovers something fascinating, unusual or surprising, he wants to share it with me. I grin inside because I remember my dad doing the same thing to my mom when he read the paper. It drove mom nuts (she hated being read to) and although I admit there are times when I am trying to focus on something else and his reading the fourth thing out loud to me is slightly irritating, I also know that I wouldn't trade those moments for anything in the world. I always want him to turn to me first when he wants to share something.
I love our morning ritual. I think it speaks volumes about our relationship. As we read, our feet are usually intertwined under the kitchen table and our hands tend to reach out and touch here and there. Spending the first minutes of the day alone with my husband are precious. That's a ritual I hope I can do for another 50 years.