I read this article from Pick Any Two back in January and it really got me thinking. The post is about a phenomenon called "kin keeping" or those seemingly insignificant tasks that keep a family rolling: sending out cards, holding the collective memories, planning parties for special occasions, etc.
It can be an exhausting and overwhelming job. I liken it to the feeling I often have of spinning plates. I have to keep running around and giving each plate a fresh spin to make sure they stay up on the posts where they belong. If I neglect one plate for too long, it could fall over. Worse, it could knock other plates over and cause the entire lineup to come to a crashing, shattered halt.
I have found that as long as I acknowledge the tasks I am doing as kin keeping, they are less likely to bother me. Even better is to see the trait turning up in my own daughter. Frances doesn't yet worry about sending a birthday card to great-aunt Marge, but she does keep track of things in her own way.
At Christmastime, when I get out the stockings and decorations, Frances is the one who asks, "Mommy, where is that little Nutcracker we always put out?" or she tells the boys, "On Christmas Eve we get to go out and look at Christmas lights. It's a tradition in our house."
Sometimes she saves my butt because she reminds me of things that Santa and the Easter Bunny typically do. I don't know if she is trying to help me on purpose, or not, but there are a number of times I have overheard her reminding her brothers of things that I had totally forgotten about. Thank goodness for that!
She is my little kin keeper, Jr.