Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family legends and stories

'Family' isn't just a bunch of people. Family is what is between those people: the bonds of shared language, jokes, memories and stories. The telling and re-telling of family stories are very important to us in our house. They remind us of what has happened to us and where we have been together. They allow for exploration of feelings both good and bad within the safety of home. They give us history and place and a sense of belonging. They allow us to make sense of who we are in the world and where we come from.

The children love hearing their birth stories. Rebe loves to hear how she was 'coming anyway' even though she was 6 weeks early. She giggles when I tell her how we argued with her, but no she's was 'coming anyway'. I see the tenderness in her face as I tell her of how I first felt her tiny breath on my upper lip as the midwife placed her on my chest. She gets cross at the part where she had to sleep in a plastic box and have silly eye protectors on from the bright lights.

Every year we add to our family legends. These are occasions that have really touched us; when we have discovered something about ourselves and the world. We have had some pretty great times in 2011 and some of these have turned into legends, told agian and again to each other. As the year draws to a close I have been thinking of them and remembering them.

Often in the day we say to each other,'Do you remember the time when...'
Benny won a medal running in the race. He ran so fast that the man at the finish line had to run after him to give him his medal. And remember how he was shaking with excitement and kept repeating 'me won, me won'.
Do you remember the time Rebe rescued a mouse from Tiny and gave it it's life back?
Do you remember when we found real treasure on the pirate beach?Do you remember the time we went camping and Benny's marshmallow caught fire and he cried so I had to eat it and toast him another?

Woven into our stories are characters and places.
As we walk through the woods we find ourselves rooted in our own stories.
Benny's dragon tree is a big feature of the woods for us. It is often the reason we go there, we have talked about what it eats and we know it's favourite food. It has entered our stories and the stories that feature Benny as the hero, the dragon is his faithful side kick.

Some characters have been celebrated and remembered in play and drawing and craft. Do you remember the time the robin came into the kitchen through the open door and Rebe caught it very gently and let Benny softly stroke his little red breast before setting him free in the garden? Do you remember how the only place he pooed on was Rebe's homework?

We have changed the words of songs so that they now belong to us. When Benny found a woodlouse (which he loves) being eaten by a spider (which he is scared of) in the loo at playgroup, we retold that story (and changed it round) by singing : 'My name is Tricky (Benny's name for woodlouse) he he he, and I eat spiders for my tea.'

We also use story and legend to imagine answers to questions I have no idea how to answer. I ask the kids 'Where do you get those curls from?' and they tell me the story of how at night while they are asleep the specials, Lambie, Mio and Nuggle sneak quietly, quietly out of their room, down the stairs and out of the front door to the Curls Shop where they buy a bag full of curls each. They bring these home and knot them into the children's hair in time for them waking in the morning.

Stories are so much more than just tales in books, they are important, they are a gift, a celebration. They are very dear to us...

What were your family legends this year? Write about them and link back to me here, I'd love to hear some of your family's 2011 legends.


  1. What a beautiful post, makes you realise whats really important in life. x

  2. Thanks Jam :-)
    ..the kids have just made me add... remember the time Benny caught the big bass and daddy spilt his coffee? Remember the time Benny's strawberry hat blew off and the other time a dog stole it and ran away and we had to chase it round and round to get it back? Oh and remember the time we got lost, twice? The time Jenny climbed right up the tree?

  3. I will have to think hard on that one, as the only things I can remember easily from this last year are pretty traumatic. But from further back we often recount our travelling disasters, like when the doors wouldn't open on the train and we had to get off on at the next station and make our way back, or when the bus was late and we had to shelter in some trees from the torrential rain!

    One nice thing from this year was when we got our kitten, a complete and utter surprise for the children, and the kitten was hiding under the shoe rack when they returned from school. They were stood in the hallway trying to guess what kind of surprise could be hiding under a shoe rack!!

  4. Oh claire, those are good stories and lovely and dramatic :-) I can just imagine their puzzled little faces wondering about the shoe rack! x

  5. I love this post! So lovely, the stories that tie us all together! Both my kids love to hear the stories of their births, and there are stories of adventures and misadventures (the big snowshoe trip, the time papa lost his keys in the snow, the time we saw a mama bear with her cub close by, how Dori loved to run away from us in the airport on our big trip last summer...) stories are so important! I love this collection of stories from your family. Such sweetness!

  6. Laura...I'm trying again to leave a comment...I love this! It truly is the fabric of childhood, the stories that weave our lives together. Thank you for this!
    xo Jules

  7. Hi Jules, glad you can comment again :-) Love the stories Taisa thanks for sharing x