the secrets of sirens and sauce

(Melinda) Many of the memories of my mom have to do with transportation. Or the lack of it. You see, my mom was infamous for running out of gas. She was also a “skills-impaired” driver. Police officers regularly issued APBs when she left our driveway.

So it might seem strange that one of the sweetest legacies that my mother left me has to do with a ritual she started while she was driving. We’d be out on the road and hear a familiar sound: the wailing of a siren.

Yes, sometimes it was a member of law enforcement.

Often, however, it was a fire truck or an ambulance. Each time, my mother would immediately command us to stop all conversation. “Hear that? We have to pray. Pray for the person who’s hurt and for the doctors and paramedics,” she’d say.

When my daughter was about two, I was driving with her and heard a siren. Without a thought, I told her to fold her hands and pray. It was not a conscious decision to pass down this legacy. It just happened. It was so engrained in me that it was automatic. My kids are 15 and 12 now and are often the first ones to say, “Mom, let’s stop and pray.”

Unfortunately, they’ve also had to say more than once: “A police officer has his lights on behind you.” Like mother, like daughter. 

(Kathy) My daughter calls my mother’s spaghetti sauce, Grandma Sauce. She completely associates it with my mother: warm, inviting and nourishing.  When my kids smell the familiar concoction, they immediately say, “Ummmm. Grandma Sauce.”

I make it slightly different from my mother. My sister makes a much spicier version than me. My nieces have yet another take on it. In our minds, the orginal designer was my mom.  She may have inherited the recipe from my Dad’s mother, but she put her own signature on the dish.  She labeled it the family elixir.  It cured everything from the common cold to a teenage broken heart.

I grew up learning how to make it from scratch.  I started out by just standing on a chair and stirring.  She proceeded to dump in the ingredients on cue: olive oil, garlic, onions, sausage, beef……. All we contributed was making sure it didn’t get burned and to keep the wooden spoon moving.

She passed down the legacy of nurturing.  Grandma Sauce holds more than tomato puree and seasonings. It’s a reminder of our greatest job as mothers: to take care of our loved ones. By using something as predictable as a traditional family dinner, we share ourselves, even if we changed the original recipe. She still makes it for me when I go home — in case I have a sudden case of the sniffles, of course.

It’s often the little things we do that pass down faith or communicate love to our children. What is one small ritual you are doing with your children that you hope they pass down?

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  1. says

    Every night before my girls go to bed, my hubby reads a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible (GREAT BOOK!) and we pray with them. I also read from other books then, too. It’s *usually* a time we all look forward to. Unless it’s been a REALLY long day and I’m particularly crabby, that is. ;o)

    I really hope this time spent with the girls before bed never ends though. I’ve heard more experienced moms talk about how much their children open up to them during that time. I hope the same for my girls. :)
    Catie recently posted..Where’s YOUR Adam’s Apple?My Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Melinda} Such a sweet tradition, Catie! My kids are 12 and 15 now and I’ve found that personally bedtime isn’t when they open up as much. Instead, it’s the time in the car when I’m driving them to soccer practice or school.

      But I know my blogging partner Kathy says often that even her big boys (ages 17 and 18) still are most likely to open up before bedtime.

      I guess it depends on the kid and we just have to be sensitive to their shifting habits and emotions. It definitely keeps us on our toes. :)

  2. says

    Friday night pizza! My family had this tradition when I was growing up and it was a great way to kick-off the weekend. I hope to pass this tradition on (because it’s yummy and easy!)

    Stopping by from SITS sharefest! Happy Saturday!
    Jen recently posted..Dear LeilaMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Melinda} We do this too, Jen! It just feels like what you should eat on Fridays! Thanks so much for stopping by … I will return the favor.

  3. says

    Hi! I’m stopping in from SITS. Your blog is so cute, I just love the design. We have a family dish too that everyone recognizes and nobody but Mom can create. Tamales. She’s the only one who does them right.

    I love your tradition of stopping to pray when you hear a siren. I quietly say a small blessing when I see an ambulance, but it never occurred to me to pass it on to my daughter.

    Have a great day,
    Tara Denny recently posted..Geeky Friday- Comic Book editionMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Melinda} Thank you for your compliment on the design! We were determined to design it ourselves so it looked exactly like the vision we had in our heads.

      It’s funny, the big things I do to try to make family traditions don’t seem to make as much of an impression as the small, everyday things that I don’t even necessarily think of as “traditions.”

      So glad you stopped by … I’ll return the favor!

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Melinda} I love the siren tradition, too … my mom passed away a number of years ago, but in little (and big) ways, her legacy lives on. Thanks so much for stopping by, Amy! I love your adorable blog.

  4. says

    Love this. My grandma passed in way so I’ve been thinking about how we remember a person. Every night I crawl into bed with each of my girls and chat and then pray. Every night. It is precious for us all. I hope they do this for their kids.
    Laura @ Pruning Princesses recently posted..The gift of riskMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Snuggle time at the end of the day probably ranks as my number one tradition as well. Whether they are in their own beds or in ours I find that the day’s thoughts just float up to the ceiling. Prayer consists of mostly small petitions with that occasional heavy ones that kids blurt out spontaneously.

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Raquel, I would love to find one that we could all play together (ages 9-18). Keeping everyone’s attention is the most difficult part. Games of chance are probably the only ones I feel we just kick back and enjoy. Do you have any suggestions?

      • says

        Yes, I do have suggestions. There are some fun games for all ages. I would suggest Kids vs. Grown Ups or Sequence. Both are board games. Also, bingo is a total game of chance too, we will change the winning format (X, L, cover all, etc) and the winner gets a small prize (candy, etc).
        Raquel recently posted..Repurposed Coffee CanMy Profile

  5. Mothering From Scratch says

    {Melinda} I always worry about passing down traditions to my children. I particularly stress about this around the holidays. But over the years, I’ve learned that it’s the small, everyday things that we do over and over again that they remember and make each family unique.

  6. Joy Allen says

    A lot of our traditions revolved around food. I remember sitting around the dinner table together. My husband and I make a point of eating dinner together and at dinner we say at prayer that has been passed down from my grandfather. I hope my kids say it with there children.

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