I woke up this morning feeling very peaceful, who knows why, but I’m not arguing when it happens. When I have moments of peace I just drink it up like my favorite chai tea. I sat on my couch for about an hour and watched the snow falling from the sky, watching the squirrels running up and down the trees, and I got to contemplating ritual. How ritual plays a role in our lives. What is means to us and how we make meaning out of our lives through ritual. One of my favorite rituals this time of year is to read the story The After Christmas Tree with my kids.
When my kids were very small I discovered this book on one of our trips to the library. The kids in the story are sad that the holidays are coming to an end. The parents decide to have an after Christmas party to help quell their kids sadness and the outcome is helping to feed the birds and wildlife, a way to give their tree a second life. The kids make bird feeders, string popcorn, and scatter nuts around the tree that is now placed outside their window so they can watch as others also get to now enjoy it.
The ritual of reading this book and then making bird feeders has been one of my favorites for over a decade. Now my kids are older and don’t really want to participate. I am committed however to rituals and especially this one. I know that many years from now when I am long gone my kids will talk about doing this every year, I hope that they will recreate this ritual with their children. I know that everything that we do will be not be repeated by our kids, but I do hope that some of it sticks and that there is sentimentality that will be carried along with it.
Ritual is what brings us comfort, it ties us to our history, our traditions. My desire is to entrench my family into a life rich with ritual so that as life changes and people come and go there is a constant feeling of security in the rituals that will continue to happen regardless of who is present.
On a side note the neuro oncologist suggested that I have a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) done to potentially determine if the tumor I have is benign or malignant. It is definitely much less invasive than brain surgery and could help me to make a decision about ultimately having the surgery or not. The idea is that the tumor should shed cells into my cerebral spinal fluid and that when that CSF is looked at they could determine exactly what type of cells the tumor is shedding. It sounds like a simple enough procedure so I will probably opt to go that route.