Tag Archives: ritual

A little spectral light

Today we saw a rainbow like I’d never, and Mythankfulboy had never, seen before.  It was brilliant and crisp, and for a while it was even doubled.  We could see it arch from earth to earth, and could even see each color through a stand of trees.  It was a WOW moment.  The moment was particularly nice because B is sick with fever and sore throat, and he had asked to go out and get water ice to make his throat feel better, and to get out of the house a bit.

Later, a friend of mine posted a moving clip of Maya Angelou talking about being thankful for the rainbows you’re given among the clouds of life, and about being a rainbow for other people out in the world.  Here’s a link: – it’s only 2 minutes, and packed full of meaning and emotion.  It felt like a message, and a beautiful one.

So, of course I shared the video with B at the chalice lighting.  He smiled widely at me and said, “Cool”, as he does when something is touching.  All through the rest of the discussions we had during the time set aside for our thankfulness ritual we looked for opportunities to say “Be a rainbow” whenever we could (unplanned, but it built momentum quickly).  We talked about a grade he’d earned that made him proud, about struggles I’ve had today with technology, about the new Xbox One Plants vs. Zombies game he got (and which he lifted up as the thing for which he was thankful, incidentally), about the support we have of local friends, about baseball tryouts, and about his being sick.  Somehow we managed to get a “Be a rainbow” into each topic, even if only to remind me to be rainbow and not a cloud when I whined about technology.

And I was thankful for Maya Angelou.  Talk about a rainbow for the world!

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Wine glasses and Severus Snape

There is something that has been bugging me about our chalice–lighting. It began with Mythankfulboy’s decision not to sleep inside his covers, but on top of them with throw blankets as his cover.  He did this for two reasons: one, so that throw blankets were all he/we had to wash and he/we didn’t have to deal with fitted sheets (or “feta cheese”, if you believe speech–to–text), and two, so that he could move his head to the other end of the bed which was closer to all things technological.  This required his moving his fan to a stool next to the bed (near what would most people be considered the foot of the bed). This domino effect continued until there was no place for me to stand or sit anymore anywhere close to him, so I found myself pacing around uncomfortably while doing the chalice–lighting, while he was snug as a bug in a rug.  My discomfort was pushing me out the door before we really connected around the chalice.  Something had to change.

So, last night I called him into the living room to discuss a change of plan. I suggested that we re-route some of his cords and move his stuff (I believe I said “crap”) so that I could sit in the desk chair at the foot of his bed for the thankfulness ritual. I warned him this would mean I would probably reach out and stroke his hair affectionately from time to time.  He said this was all doable.

I am happy to report that the plan worked. He had so much to tell me about his day and his friends that I finally had to put my foot down and say we really needed to do the actual chalice.  He was grateful last night for wine glasses.  He had made me laugh earlier in the night by walking through the living room with apple juice in a wine glass held aloft with the wine glass stem tucked between his middle and ring finger and his hand cupping the bottom of the cup.  When I asked him what he was doing, he said he “needed a change of pace”.  I was thankful for Severus Snape and the brilliant man, Alan Rickman, who brought him to life off the pages of the Harry Potter book series.  A moment of silence fell, and, as I rose to go I told B I loved him.  He said, “Aren’t you going to stroke my hair?”

So I sat back down, with love and gratitude.

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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


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The dogs and the bees and the boy

It’s spelling bee time again.  Last year B came in second for his school, and he has a goal of domination this year, so we’ve begun a nightly study period.  This is fun for me because I love words so very much.  Plus, anytime you share a love of something with your kid, and get to spend time with them around it, the joy is multiplied.

After the spelling session last night, mythankfulboy sat, or I should say, spun, in my desk chair while I sat, propped up, in bed.  We lit the candle on the desk and began the evening thankfulness ritual.  The dog was unhappy that B and I were in the same room and not talking to him, so he wandered back and forth between us whining.  B said he was thankful for snow and for school dances, the latter of which he’ll be attending this evening.  He has the night planned; home to my house after school, dad to pick him up and take him to Crossfit, taking a change of clothes to slip into at the gym for the dance, then the dance.  Perhaps his crush will be there….  His dad harrumphs about all the driving, and while I know he doesn’t cherish that part of it (who does?), I do think he likes knowing that B is connected to his community, and takes some private pleasure in getting him to activities.

For myself, I was thankful for a dog who, despite being not-very-bright and often annoying (I’m not good with whining; perhaps I’ve mentioned this), is highly tolerant of ear and tail pulling, and is always happy to see us.  My son delivered 25 unsolicited pecks on my cheek, said goodnight, and left for bed.  I closed my eyes to remember the moment, and drifted off to sleep.

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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And you’re beautiful

I had a brief reprieve from working every evening and every weekend day, but I’ve had to return to it.  It’s tiring, and I always notice the toll it takes first when I don’t find myself able to post about our evening thankfulness ritual.  That’s a shame, surely, but we do always do the chalice-lighting itself, which is the most important part.

In the last several days, we’ve been thankful for everything from shovelable snow (versus snow to your waist) to good neighbors, from school delays to a three-night History Channel documentary on Samuel Adams and his rabble rousers, from Crossfit to the new YMCA in town.  Mythankfulboy has made me proud enumerable times, but, in particular, for stopping gaming with a happy heart to go out and help a neighbor shovel her drive before the sun set, and for helping a different neighbor with letting the dog out when she had to work late.  He also melted my heart when, as we turned a corner towards home in the car at dusk one evening, he said, “Momma, the sun on your face makes you glow, and you’re beautiful.”

I rewarded his shoveling by knocking $5 off of a sum he owed me.  I do this intermittently, because I want him to be rewarded, but I don’t want him to expect a reward every time he does something good.  I made sure he knew it was not only for doing the work, but for doing it with pleasure (what we call a “happy heart”).  Plus, I happen to know, as a developmentalist who works with kids with learning differences, that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful (as my friends say, he never really had a chance to be bad…).   When he said I was beautiful, I gave an involuntary “you’re the sweetest thang” face, and then I screwed it up in a goofy face and said, “How about now?” as a car passed by, the driver staring at me.  B waited until the car had passed, chuckled, and said, “I just looked at the guy like, I don’t know, man.”

Beauty abounds in our hearts and our actions.  Most of our actions, anyway.  May it be so.

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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It’s not generous when it’s love

Mythankfulboy has had his dance card full lately, and I am the chauffeur.  Well, his friends’ parents and me.  I am more than willing, though, because it is very much worth it to keep this group of exceptional boys together.  The downside, of course, is that any opportunity to see a friend over his old-hat momma is now taken, and I don’t see as much of him as I used to.  Part of the process.  I won’t complain (too) much.

So tonight when we sat down to do our evening thankfulness ritual, I started by saying, “Hi!”  He laughed and said it back in imitation.  We talked about what we’d done over the weekend, and he filled me in on two accomplishments at Crossfit: being able to jump and touch the second-highest bar (I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it was something he couldn’t do until tonight) and being able to climb the rope using only his arms (no feet, no ladder, no hot air balloon).  I have more of a reference for that, and all I could think was, “Woah. That’s remarkable.”  I said something more like, “No you didn’t!!!” with a high 5.

When we got around to thankfulness proper, I said I was thankful for my fireplace, where I spend a lot of time.  He said, “I know you are!”  I added that I was also thankful for our friends C and J who were up from the southland this weekend and with whom we had dinner. He said, “Mmmm. Me too.”  During dinner, I had made a sincere offer to be a back-up guardian for this friend’s children (after a family member who already has the primary job), and B had surprised me by immediately, enthusiastically, piping up and saying, “Yeah!  I could always move to my dad’s to make room.”  I was flabbergasted.  There was not only the offer to share his mom and his space, but to move in with his stepfamily, which is not his favorite place to be.  I fully realize that this was an easy offer to make, since it is very unlikely to happen, but the speed with which he made it made me think he didn’t think about that.  So, during the chalice lighting, just after we talked about being thankful for these friends, I said I was also thankful that he had such a generous nature.  I went on to say that he had surprised me with his offer.  He said, as though it were all there was to it, “I love them.”

And you know, it really is that simple.  Blessed be.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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I’m thankful for THAT

“Get in the bed NOW!!!!”

This is how we began this evening’s chalice-lighting. It followed “This is why you need to start your bedtime routine earlier”, “I’ll give you five minutes to finish that”, “That was a command, not a request”, and “I’m about to tan your hide!”

Such a peaceful beginning to our evening thankfulness ritual.

Tonight B was thankful for fans (the kind that blow air), shoes, pasta, and me. Me, he went on to say, because I buy him fans, shoes, and pasta. “That’s the only reason you’re thankful for me, huh?” I wondered exaggeratedly.

“Yep, I mean nope, I mean, wait, I AM thankful for you because you do those things.” “Ok, but are they the MAIN reasons you’re thankful for me?”

Painfully, this required thought on his part.

Finally, a lightbulb went off. “No! I’m thankful for you because I love you and you love me!”

“Oh!” I said. “Of course! Yeah, I’m thankful for THAT.”

“Yeah” he breathed quietly, as though it is the first time he’d ever considered such a thing.

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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Aw Mom!

Tonight B attended the first night of a 6 week baseball camp, and man was he excited. His coach plays in the Minors, and there are only three kids in his group, so he’s getting lots of individual attention. Yay for B. Nothing nicer than making your kid happy. And yay for Grandaddy for helping us pay for it.

When we sat to do the chalice lighting, our evening thankfulness ritual, B was having a difficult time settling down, and was bouncing around and generally free-associating as he went. Right before I turned out the light (for better focus on the chalice candle) a silkscreen of three stylized sheep that I bought and hung on B’s wall when he was little caught my eye. I’ve always loved that print. It’s hard to put my finger on why. I remember I was with my sweet stepmother in an old barn-of-a-shop that was going out of business when I saw it and knew it was meant for our house, for my little boy’s room. He’s not so little now that he’s in middle school, but the print still hangs in his room. So, to return to the chalice lighting:

I turned the light back on and said “Do you know what I’m thankful for tonight? That sheep print”, at which point I pointed to it, and he looked over at it. When I thought he’d had enough time to register the picture I was talking about, I turned the light off again. I asked, “What about you?”

B said, “What did you say?”
Momma said, “I asked what you are thankful for tonight.”
B: “No. Before that.”
M: “The sheep.”
B: “What sheep?”
M: “The sheep in the picture.”
B: “Oh…. Wait – what?”
M: “I said I was thankful for the picture of the sheep on the wall. Remember I turned the light back on and you looked at it?”
B: “Oh yeah!”
M: “Honestly, B, sometimes it’s like talking to a door nail.” (a saying straight from my mother’s mouth)
B: “Aw Mom!”

So, when we finally got around to his telling me for what he was thankful, I did my best door nail impression:

B: “Baseball camp. And Grandaddy for sending me there.”
M: “Camp?”
B: “Yeah. Baseball camp.”
M: “Not summer camp at the Y.”
B: “Uh, no.”
M: “Oh, yeah. I’m sorry you don’t like it there.”
B: “At baseball camp?”
M: “Didn’t you say camp?”
B: “Yeah, baseball camp, but I said I was thankful for it, not that I didn’t like it!”
M: “Oh!” (changing my voice) “See? That’s what it’s like talking to you sometimes!”
B: “Aw Mom!”

I didn’t know, until I got to this point, how thankful I’d be for a good “Aw Mom!”, accompanied by peals of laughter. So grateful.

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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