I told Atticus that we were going to take his shoes off at the door. “NO! No shoes off!” he wailed. Because no shoes means no more outside. Because he has a fever and he wants what he wants.

Deep breath. “You wanted to come inside, remember? Your shoes are dirty! They have mud on them. We have to leave them at the door. Remember how Mama mopped the floor this morning? We don’t want to get the floor dirty.”

He grunted his assent, and I slipped off his shoes and kissed his head. “Thank you, sweet boy.”

Later, I found his shoes in the laundry room. Because that’s where dirty things go, right, Mama? I was paying attention.

How can this be the same kid who looks at us and says, “No-no road!” and then heads straight for it? I have spilled more than one cup of coffee as I had to make a mad dash to stop him. I can’t even use a cup without a lid in my own yard.

It was my idea to start lighting candles for dinner. I wanted it to be a Friday night ritual, that we would welcome the weekend with candles as we eat our pizza. A small thing to indicate the end of the week. Then I started lighting them on days when I was wrung out, just to make a small sacred space at our table. Now Atticus asks for them every night as we sit down. Candle. Other candle. It pulls me away from reading a magazine or checking my phone. Most of the time.

On Friday, after a long week, I was lying on the couch when Mike arrived with the pizza. I begged him just to bring it to me and let me stay where I was. “No,” he said, “you need to come in here and light the candles.” I was so mad at him for being right.

Mindfulness comes in fits and starts, I suppose, just like everything else. But we are practicing.

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  1. “No” has a way of taking over, doesn’t it? Our little B uses “no” even when he means yes. Sigh…

    I like these stories of Atticus learning and growing, and how your family is creating little rituals together.

    Posted 10/3/2012 at | Permalink
  2. Mark Allman

    I do love how over the years we have developed traditions that only our family does. Your family obviously already consider this a needed tradition not to be broken. I think that is great. Traditions offer comfort and peace at times. They also bring remembrance. I like that tradition you have developed.
    What other traditions does your family do?

    Some of ours include:
    We spend Christmas together and not go anywhere. I write in a Christmas journal. We go to Hershey Park every year. We watch the Packers together. We pray on trips whenever we see 3 crosses. We pray for our soldiers every meal.

    Posted 10/3/2012 at | Permalink
  3. I love this tradition. Makes me think of my favorite chapter in Mudhouse Sabbath, in which Lauren writes about lighting candles, and how they are found “in houses where people are trying to pay attention.”

    Posted 10/3/2012 at | Permalink
  4. “I was so mad at him for being right.” Isn’t that the best/worst?

    Posted 10/5/2012 at | Permalink
  5. Jayne

    This is so sweet. I learned, and continue to learn, from my children of habit in our family that felt like traditions to them. Things that may have been simply the way I liked dinner or Sundays or music or language, that have become important to them as adults and parents. A bit frightening sometimes as I wonder/hope that they were worthy of being legacies, but also so sweet and touching that they saw and remembered.

    Posted 10/11/2012 at | Permalink
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