The Atlantic is calm as a lake today; it’s a beautiful, sunny and crisp morning; hot milky-tea in hand, with a few mint chocolate Milano cookies, I am thankful for so many routines in my life.
The girls are still sleeping; soon Shania will wake up, and fill up my life with her sparkling laughter and giggles; she will ask me, “Can I ask you a question?” and I will smile and exclaim, “But that is a question!” She will dunk a Milano in my lukewarm tea and spill a drop on the furniture. We will cuddle together on the sofa with a warm blanket, and read a story or watch a cartoon.
These are our simple routines.
Breakfast at the Jukebox diner where Daiyaan never finishes her bagel; Sunday morning service at Unity followed by brunch with friends at J.Marks, where Shania hides the sweet potato fries from me; A Beach Roll or a Pretty Face Roll at 9 Face Sushi Café followed by handmade ice-cream at Razzleberry’s; a walk on the beach on a warm day.Shania does her Kumon at the dining table; Daiyaan lies on the sofa with the red blanket covering her – even on a warm day.
These mundane, routine activities are so simple and authentic, and yet so meaningful.
On this typical Thanksgiving day, I am thankful for these repetitive activities in my life. I realize, tomorrow these will morph into something else; but today, they provide continuity and a little piece of heaven .
For today, along with the sunshine, and the blue Atlantic, I embrace these routines.
I heard from a childhood friend last night, where she said that her college-going children are back at home for the holidays; the home is noisy and messy and she is loving it! One of the nicest part of the holidays are when your empty homes fill up again, with those familiar sounds and smells! Those familiar faces – changed, yet same for a few days – trying to re-enact, as close as we can, those moments from the past.
Now I understand, why during every conversation, my mother brings up all her nostalgia and ruefully asks If I remember the day I fell down in our neighbor’s Lilly pond or when our new kitten Koala climbed up a curtain some forty years ago ! She searches for those moments of routine from the past.
When tumult engulfs us, we crave these routines; we try to get to “steady state” by finding or re-creating routines. As if, these little repetitions somehow give a rhythm to our lives.
Recently, I moved from one condo to another, and remember the grueling few days of moving boxes and glassware from one room to another. Every moment of the move, I kept craving these repetitive ritualistic moments. One way to get through a difficult time, is to look back at those memories of routine happiness, and try to remember those times that were relatively more stable or pleasant.
As our lives change over the years, one of the joyful and exhilarating experience is the formation of habits and then subtle changes that occur over time.
When Shania tries something new or decides to not follow the norm, instead of opposing or changing of routine – I try to understand that this change is a normal part of life; the routine is not as critical– but her presence in my life. In any form, shape or routine, Shania and Daiyaan are the most important repetitions that I love in my daily life.
One day, this too will change; just as Daiyaan moved away from home to college and created her own routines in her new life – one day, Shania will do the same.
Until then, I want to enjoy this subtle rhythm of slow mornings, with lazy blankets, milky-tea with cookies and a deep embrace that lasts forever.