Just the smell of a turkey baking on Thanksgiving conjures up memories of being at home as a child. My mom got up very early in the morning to start preparing the stuffing and roasting the turkey so it would be ready for lunch. My siblings and I prepared side dishes. For us, cooking and eating together was a tradition that kept us close, not only at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year.
Food has always been a big part of my family’s traditions. My mom is a great cook, and preparing wonderful meals is one way she expresses her love for her family. She rarely cooks from recipes, adding just the right amount of each ingredient based on experience to create the most delectable dishes.
Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for me to recreate my favorite meals. Somehow, a dash of this and a pinch of that don’t yield the same result in my hands. So when she and I get together, we always cook. I watch her prepare my favorite foods, like a green bean stew she made on her last visit, and I write down her recipes. I want to memorialize them so that I can share that tradition with my children and grandchildren someday.
When we think of estate planning, we usually approach it from a financial perspective; the tangible assets that we pass to our children and grandchildren. But it’s often our traditions, like our family history and recipes, that are cherished more than any material wealth we could leave behind.
What are your family traditions? And how do you plan to pass them down the next generation? Chances are those traditions will bind your family for generations.