By Dana M. Zipkin
As a mom to three children under the age of six, I’ve grown to appreciate those daily rituals that seem so ordinary: preparing breakfast, going to the park after school, reading a story before bedtime. They provide a comfortable routine and, even more importantly, positively impact the relationships among everyone in the household. Each day-to-day ritual provides us with an opportunity to celebrate being a family and to recognize that we are loved and needed, a much-welcomed experience given the inevitable push-and-pull of life. These daily experiences seem to be the most powerful for my family:
One of my daughters is an early riser. My husband and I have given her the task of Human Alarm Clock, which she absolutely loves. She knocks on doors, gently tells us it’s time to get out of bed, and asks if we’ve slept well. Her older sister and younger brother adore these few minutes with her. It’s a wonderful way to start the day. It’s also notable that five people get to the kitchen with smiles on their faces instead of scowls!
This started after my eldest daughter was born, as a way to spend quality time together and get some exercise. We fire up the iPod and sing along to our favorite songs and dance like fools. Everyone chats and laughs and shakes off whatever stress the day might have caused. Hugs and kisses are shared. We love every minute of it.
Story Time Twist
Most bedtimes in our home begin with the reading of a story or two. Every once in awhile, though, we create original stories that require everyone’s input in order to get to The End. My husband usually starts us off and, going around the room, everyone adds the details that compose the tale’s beginning, middle, and end. Characters are developed, plot lines thicken, and creativity flows. A favorite character, an upside-down cat, has reappeared in quite a few stories. It’s an excellent way to close the day.
Ritual denotes actions performed mainly for their symbolic value. In our case, the symbolism is clearly expressed through the joy we derive from these everyday tasks; they embody the fabric of our family. My second-born recently summed it up best: “I love hanging out with you guys because it’s like magic that makes me happy!”
Dana Zipkin is a certified wedding, families, and children Life-Cycle Celebrant. She is a former teacher and currently spends her time focusing on her biggest passions: raising her three children and collaboratively creating ceremony for the world’s best clients. Dana lives in Nutley, New Jersey. She can be reached at [email protected] and via her website, ceremoniesbydana.com.