As we officially begin our homeschooling journey with Elijah, I have been thinking alot about bringing rituals to life in our way of being a family. I remember fondly certain traditions we had as kids, and want to pass those same sorts of memories on to the littles. Last year we began a tradition in advent, where each day in the month of December the littles would receive a “gift” in the pocket of our lovingly home-stitched advent calendar (thanks Grandma). The gift was more often than not immaterial, a special trip to the library, a visit to the pioneer christmas exhibit at the Western Development Museum, a movie night. Sometimes there was a small toy or the chance to help mama make a warm mug of hot chocolate or a batch of cookies.
This fall we added a tradition during the months of September/October. As the leaves began to fall, I painted a six foot Thanksgiving tree on the mirror in our kitchen. The kids and I made leaves out of construction paper, drawing and cutting with laughter and excitement. And then each evening, as our family sat down to eat supper together, we lit candles. Each of us chose a paper leaf and said one thing we were thankful for. Parents wrote the words on the leaves, and the leaves were placed on the tree. As the month went on, we created scarecrows and a pumpkin to add to our wall of gratitude. We shared joy as a family, and visitors were invited to participate. The kids took to the ritual with glee, lighting their own candles each night, and rushing to turn out the lights. The passing of days was marked, in a way it would not have otherwise, as we noticed that each evening our kitchen got darker and darker as the days grew shorter. In the growing darkness we shared and rejoiced in the small mercies of our living.
And especially on the days when Mama was most thankful for the bedtime soon to come, those moments when spoon suspended over bowl paused to celebrate our lives together were holy moments, pulsing with joy.