Spring cleaning for me this year is compounded by the sale of our house. I’ve been sorting, purging, and struggling with what to hold onto and what to release.

The sight of our daffodils popping up was bittersweet, representing all that we nurtured here and what we must leave behind. It was the memories of weeding and planting with our children nearby that reminded me when it comes to traditions, we’ll continue to reap what we sowed … in our garden, at our checkered table, and everywhere between.

When we first decided to downsize, I felt as if we were pulling the rug out from under our college-aged kids. It was as though we were backing out of a deal, one we never made but implied: that we would be here in this kitchen or garden waiting for them with sauce simmering and flowers blossoming. But the truth is that our traditions will abide wherever we go, figuratively if not literally.

We will be somewhere, out there, ready to welcome our children home. The traditions planted here will come with us and continue to evolve. The sight, smell, and feel of home will greet our children at whatever door we swing open. We’ll follow through on our promise to uphold traditions, but here’s the catch: they have a responsibility in the process to nurture and adapt whatever traditions work for them. Like an Easter morning smorgasbord, our children can take what appeals to them and leave the rest. If they forget something or change their minds, they can always come back for more. Like dots on a timeline, our children can remember who and what matters and then decide what to carry forward.

Many of us enjoy traditions, but we don’t own them. After all, they came to us though someone else. Traditions are plentiful and ripe for the picking. Like a community garden, there should be something for everyone. Our children shouldn’t stop at our fences but look far and wide to see what other thriving families are doing to bond, celebrate, and remember. If they don’t see what they like, they can get creative and start one of their own. Even the most celebrated traditions began somewhere … with someone. When it comes to traditions, we should all beg, borrow, and steal!

As I pack and tape, I take solace in knowing that there will always be opportunities to plant our love and let it grow. Whether we settle into a farmhouse or high-rise, our family traditions, tried and true, old and new, will continue to bloom all year.