Childhood Rituals

Everyone has those little rituals they’ve performed since childhood that they do without even thinking. Like these onion flowers. When I see them, I pick them. I have to-that’s just what you do.

On my way home from school, I’d pass a field (which today is a lot with a big brick house on it) and there were thousands of these little wildflowers. I’d pick until I couldn’t carry any more in my hand, then I’d rush through the screen door to hand them to my mother, proudly. She always got out her prettiest vase (the one that made me think of the “I Dream of Jeannie” bottle) for them.
When we saw these the other day, my daughter squealed, “White Flowers!” and immediately began picking. She had to. She’s fifteen.

(365 Day 80 Photo)

We have other rituals: Saturday morning pop tarts and SpongeBob, listening to this cheesy techno Christmas album while we decorate our Christmas tree, how I regularly hide in the house until someone or some dog finds me, the type of snack we eat at different grandparents’ houses, and nighttime Bible reading and prayers (during which, I notice the kids pray for their family members in order from Oldest to youngest, including the pets, just like my brother and I did.)

I think my brother, sister, and I had an unusual amount of rituals. We seemed to take delight in very simple, silly pleasures, and when we liked something, we kept it going. It was one more thing to tie our memories of childhood together and bond us, I guess.

I realized yesterday that I hadn’t picked white flowers in a couple of years. It was weird. Maybe I just hadn’t taken the time to notice them. Having had younger children for 14 years, there was just always someone to notice them. But they’re getting older and busier and if we’re not careful we’ll be driving everywhere, rushing around from building to building, letting things outside of our task of the moment become a nondescript blur.
Can’t let that happen. I will keep picking them as long as I can walk, even if I have to be the one to squeal, “White flowers!” to slow my adult children down long enough to walk on some grass and bunch the stems.

Do you have childhood rituals you still haven’t given up?

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