The family rhythm is quite a feat to keep up with.
They say it takes about two weeks to establish a steady pattern, so when it’s a pretty constant re-establishing, things get a little rocky for everyone.
Welcome to summer vacation.
So when this happens, we need a constant.
We need lasting traditions to hold us steady, like the before-bed-storytime.
We need the gathering at the table for every meal, to process our day and remember that we belong to each other.
These things are sacred.
I bought a little piano-shaped music box at an antique store the other day. I held it in my left hand while it quietly whispered the tune to “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head.”
I imagined Eliot twisting the knob to listen again and again.
When I arrived home, Travis was busy making lunch, and I showed it to the boys.
“This is for reading time!” I said.
“We’ll listen to it while we each look at our favorite books.”
Eliot smiled, his eyes teary, a beautiful little trait passed to him by his dad.
When he’s really happy, they glisten. Then he leans in for a hug of pure gratitude, all thanks.
We sit in the sunroom and twist it all the way to the right.
Eliot looks at his Berenstain Bears books while I read Jan Karon.
For 15 or 20 minutes, it’s pretty quiet.
For 15 or 20 minutes, it stills our chaos, creates a new ritual to receive fresh life into our tired hearts.
It’s almost fall (sort of), and Eliot can feel it in his bones.
Something will be different this year. We’ll watch football games and soccer matches because, somehow, Isaiah breathes sports, and if you know us, you know it comes from a beautiful place far outside of our bloodline.
But we’ll watch with him, and it will be tradition, and we’ll call it good, while we eat chili and cornbread, while we sip our cocoa, while Eliot dances in crunching leaves and picks special ones to make garlands out of.
Tradition is the long-lasting experience born from the daily practice of ritual, as sacred as they need to be for us to call our home holy and good, even when things are topsy-turvy.