Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Importance of Rituals

The Thanksgiving rituals are ones we can all share. There are many religious rituals. The ones I am sharing tonight are personal and family rituals. Right now, Don is reading aloud to Alan. Despite being nearly fifteen, Alan still wants his Dad to read to him and if Dad is away, he asks me to. I remember when I had no children but was taking a children's literature class in preparation for teaching. The instructor was a wise woman who said she was still reading aloud to her twelve year old and she and her husband read aloud to each other. She encouraged us to read aloud with whomever we wished. She cherished reading aloud to her child long after the child could read to herself. I don't remember when reading aloud to our daughters, now adults, ended, but it did end. I am not looking forward to the end of this ritual with Alan.

In our family, we sit down to eat together. When Alan and I are alone, often he begins to make his meal without me. He nearly always comes to find me and asks, "Mom, will you have breakfast with me?" I don't always eat, but I do always get something to drink and sit down with him. Sometimes we are silent together and sometimes we talk. When Dad is here too, he eats his breakfast alone before hurrying off to work. He likes to do that without anyone to slow him down. During weekends and holidays, however, we sit at the table together. Sometimes we are reading the newspaper but we always stop reading to converse about something or other.

At the beginning of the week, before they get too hard for me, I like to work the crossword puzzle. By Friday, I nearly always don't try it. I like the ritual of doing a crossword in the morning. I ought to bring a book of crosswords to the table to do on those mornings when the one in the newspaper is too difficult.

Now, I have the ritual of writing my blog. I have done over fifty of them now. I'm not yet an old hand, but on the rare night that I miss doing one, I feel as though the day is incomplete.

Rituals are comforting. They are often best shared.


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