Taking the time and effort to develop special habits and rituals is the glue that keeps a family together.
"When dad used to tour, we'd live it up by not cooking at home, going out for dinner every night. Just mum, my brother and I."
"There was always a heart shaped cookie and a glass of milk waiting on the table when I got back from school. It made me feel my mother was in the house even though I knew she wasn't."
"Mom always baked our birthday cakes herself. All of us, and our children too, got that special cake on our special day. I cried when my kids baked me my cake the year she died. I thought they had forgotten."
"I would buy dad a brightly coloured shirt every year. Mother and I would gang up against him saying it would suit him more than his boring grays and whites. I could see him remembering it all as he watched me argue with my fiance about his choice of shirt."
"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not" (Quote credit: Mark Twain)
All of us have memories of how our parents went out of their way to make us feel special. Even though we have our own children now, a song, a smell or some food takes us back to the days when we were the stars in their lives.
The relationship may have changed as we grew up. We may have had our altercations, our differences of opinion, we may have lost them to ill-health and death. But tucked away somewhere deep inside, are the memories of growing up together and the things we did together.
Creating family rituals and traditions don't take time or money; they create a sense of a job well done when you see the family you created being happy together.
Once a week or once a month go out for lunch or dinner to your favourite restaurant. Fix a day for this, and avoid altering your plans.
Try new things
Sometimes all it takes is a change to traditional habits for families to laugh together again.
Create a family cookbook
Collect each person's favourite recipes. Keep adding and find the time to laugh about them together. "I liked biscuits and cheese when I was five? Yuck!"
Pack sandwiches and head to the local park.
Invest in a good camera and start building a collection of photograph albums and home videos that you can watch together at a later stage. Kids love seeing themselves when they were young.
Create a family mailbox, a great way to communicate, appreciate and encourage.
Family games night
Roll up the carpet and open up some board games. Choose games that are age appropriate. For families with members with wide ranges in ages, team younger family members up with older ones.
Don't take on too much. Constantly running from one activity to another leaves no time for fun.