August 2, 2020
Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored -Terry Tempest Williams
Last week I wrote about being present to our children during the pandemic, an offering of certainty in these uncertain times. There are also ritualized moments in the day when I am intently focused on a child or two that nourish the both of us, and often lend great comfort. They are anchors of connection that build security both by consistency and a “special touch” that elevates them from the ordinary moments.
One of these rituals is very simple, and arose organically this Spring. One of the little girls at Rose Rock comes to greet me in the yard every morning wherever I am busy at work. As soon as I can I scoop her up onto my lap, saying “Buenos dias, mi pequena mama!” (my nickname for her) and we spend some time just being together. My heart fills with joy while she sits with me: love in her eyes, asking questions, talking about friends playing in the yard or filling out the attendance sheet with me. Our daily check-in started in March or April, when the normal activity of school began to shift, and it has persisted through the summer. In this moment of recognition and connection, I am offering her warmth and security for the transition to school no matter the current circumstances.
The ritual of Love Pocket kisses is another “anchor of connection” that has taken place every night for ten years. When my teenage son was three years old, I was inspired by the idea from another mama in a parenting group. The Love Pocket is a stuffed heart with a pocket in which to tuck kisses for bedtime. I sewed one to help transition him to his “big boy bed,” and a decade later all three of my sons have been gifted their own, each at about the same age. This very special moment means even more to us now as we prepare to move to a new state at this strange time. Each night that I slip into bed with them for our goodnight ritual, even for just a brief few minutes, I feel the stress from the day melt away and the rest of the world seems distant. We talk quietly, we breathe each other in, and hold on. It’s just us then, snuggling up in moments of love and deep relief.