Thursday, December 9, 2010

The ritual of small things

In a phone conversation with one of my seven-year-old twin grandson’s last night, I learned that yesterday they got to open the Christmas gift from their mom and dad – “we got it early because we needed them! [I could tell he was excited about this rule infraction, and little hands and ears do get cold even in Chattanooga.] A warm hat and a pair of gloves! Mine is blue and Elisha’s is gray, and I don’t remember Mason’s or Isobel’s, but Manessah got a black coat! …and, White-Haired-Grandma? Will you be sending us a Christmas ornament like you do every year?” Oops, I’d forgotten. Sort of. Last year I failed to pick them up on sale after the holidays. Even when I do remember, getting past the stained Santas and the broken snowmen to find just one worthy next Christmas, well, it’s a crapshoot. But I was delighted when he reminded me. I’m a trial to myself and this was another reminder of how easily I talk myself out of responsibilities. Some time back November I had wondered if the grandchildren even cared about the tradition of giving them an ornament each year and decided, eh, they probably don’t notice, and I choose to forget it.
That conversation prompted a trip to Herberger’s today where I got these, even though it was miserable outside with icy sleet falling on top of snow and the wind blowing straight off the Arctic. They weren’t too bad of a deal even with the faked and ubiquitous 60% off.

Denis and I reminded each other of how children love rituals, especially ones that have to do with celebrations, and of how good and human it is to keep ordinary small ones. Although it’s hard to be far from the children we love so much, I’m happy, after all, to be mindful of the grace of not-so-big things.

If there’s a small ritual your heart loves observing during Advent, let me know and I’ll post them as a separate blog.

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