As someone who has built a school career on establishing rituals and traditions, it comes as no surprise how deep this drive is in human beings. And yet it constantly surprises me how young kids get attached to certain routines and traditions and how quickly they get established. And how they look forward to their repetition.
Weeks before actually arriving in Portland, my 6-year old granddaughter is already anticipating the things we have done together and insisting we do them again. For example:
1) Build the Marble Maze.
2) Go to Powell’s bookstore and get ice cream afterwards.
3) Read, read, read.
4) Play War (the card game).
5) Have me make her oatmeal for breakfast.
At just a little over 2, Malik has some muscle memory of stealing my Memo book and glasses out of my front pockets. Within the first minute, he was at it again, even though I hadn’t seen him for four months. And having inventing a new game where I beat and bury both Zadie and Malik with pillows when they say “No!”, I’m sure this will be their first request when I meet them again.
Another tradition is to go to the playground and this morning, the sun made a rare appearance for Portland in November and up we raced to Mt. Tabor. But being Portland, it began to rain within five minutes, just as Malik was settled in his swing. If our life was a musical, parents and kids would pop out from behind trees and in some grand choreography, sing:
“I’m swingin’ in the rain. Just swingin’ in the rain.
What a glorious feelin’, we’re happy again.
It’s Portland with clouds, always dark up above,
But the sun’s in our heart, so we’re ready for love.”
And then jump off the swings, have a big pillow fight and go to Powell’s bookstore and eat ice cream afterwards while building the Marble Maze.