(This picture has nothing to do with this post, but look at my adorable kid in his adorable suit.)
I have sung hymns without hearing them, have read prayers without meaning them, have parroted responsive readings without listening. But the words are in my heart, even if I don’t know it. I can recite the night office and the Lord’s Prayer and “Be Thou My Vision.” I don’t have to think about them. When I do, I realize how much they mean to me. They are part of the generations in my bones.
When I was away from Atticus to be at the Glen, I missed watching him learn. I missed singing him songs. Part of my vocabulary was absent, and I felt the loss of it. I am discovering that parenting has a liturgy of its own. Every day I say the same things: Big truck. Big car. Ball. Up. Down. Careful. Airplane. Baby. The wheels on the bus. Banana. Cracker. Thank you. Dog. Monkey. Kitty. Turtle. Moon. Light. I love you. This has changed, and it will change again. But these are (some of) the words I repeat, over and over, for now.
I can ignore the words, let them roll off me, refuse to listen to myself. They are tiring and Atticus has so much energy and sometimes we all need naps. I can choose to inhabit them as the liturgy of my life, being present for these moments that I can already tell are fleeting. Or I can be realistic and realize that I will do a little bit of both. The words I say, over and over, bring to mind the preface of Leaves of Grass. And your very flesh shall be a great poem. Inhabiting the words is to inhabit what is, these days, the mundane and the beautiful of my life.