Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mums The Word

Rituals are important, because they allow us to shine.

I was reminded of this last weekend when my son and his friends celebrated Grapevine High School's homecoming.

Today's post could be a purely funny one. I could rant about the craziness of Texas homecomings and $200.00 mum my son's girlfriend is wearing. We could take guesses at the cost of Ricky's "garter" - worn proudly around his bicep all day... and night! We could laugh at the idea these contraptions are even called Mums, since hidden behind that huge wad of plastic #@!* one could hardly tell there sits a (fake) flower. We could laugh at how, over time, this ritual has gotten so big, the one-time-small-corsage has become nothing short of a long dress!

All of that would be 100% legit. Believe me when I tell you, Richard and I were ill-informed. We spent the majority of last week in utter disbelief that this entire underworld could exist and we could be so unaware. An entire homecoming industry right under our noses and we had NO IDEA!

The shock of "Mums" is begin to subside and here is what I'm left with...

Rituals, with all their impracticality and self-imposed importance, have their place.
  • Last week Ricky learned what it feels like to be a small part, in one chapter of someone else's history book. Floats, pep rallies, and yes, even mums are all part of Grapevine's longstanding Homecoming tradition. The longevity of this ritual sits squarely on the shoulders of each generation and their commitment to being a good steward.
  • He learned the power of rituals in creating a sense of inclusion and conversely, as we scurried about assuring our German exchange student had a mum too, a sense of exclusion.
  • And, not entirely insignificant, on this day - Friday, October 16 - Loren walked the hallways of school sporting a mum - a symbol made especially for her - signifying that someone else thought she shined!
Weddings, the Tooth Fairy, graduations, New Years, and even our monthly Highlowaha ritual all exist to recognize the importance of individuals. They create moments; snapshots in time when the anonymity created by life's hustle and bustle is replaced with an acknowledgment that each of us, in our own right, matters. Even shines!

So what ritual are you committed to and how do you use it to let others know they shine?

Signing off until tomorrow...

15 comments:

Heather said...

Yesterday I was having a downer of a morning until I walked into my office...funny thing was I had secretly placed a "YOU SHINE" bag and shirt on my administrative assistant's desk on Friday as she was out in the afternoon and with the weekend I had forgotten about it. But within moments of coming into the office Jan was at my door..."Did you leave a package on my desk?" I gave the requisite "No, what kind of package" and Jan said "Well I think it was a mistake there was a package on my desk this morning in a brown bread bag and it said very nice things but I don't think it was meant for me..." At this point I'm laughing on the inside, remember how we said that those who SHINE never really give themselves that kind of credit as they always think they are just doing what they SHOULD be doing never realizing the world around them has found a way to cut every corner.
Anyway the morning proceeded with Jan asking everyone in the office if they were responsible...I had to get Mike to keep it quiet since he of course recognized Ray...and in the end someone else chimed in to say..."Why does it matter who gave it to you...just take it as a thank you." to which Jan responded "Because I need to say thank you to someone" and I said "No it seems like someone was saying thank you to you!"...

Long and short of it...telling Jan she shined gave me a few moments of happiness in what was otherwise a not so stellar Monday.

Claudia said...

Great story, Heather! Thanks for sharing one small example of the power of Shine!

Anonymous said...

What a cute couple Ricky and Loren are! Glad to here they are enjoying the high school rituals!
azlori

Robin said...

I'll admit to being jealous. Hilary (nearly 18) hates all of the rituals that go along with school. I did mange to get her to go to the ring dance and she had fun which was a shock to her, but man! It's hard when you have to brow beat someone with the rituals.

I'm doing a lot of rituals right now but not the happy kind, though they are supposed to be comforting. They are important, I keep reminding myself of that...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words.

Cheryl said...

I just don't even know what to say about that "mum"- jaw dropping, isn't it? In more way than one.

Rituals...I've been sitting here with this comment page up forever completely blank. I guess I practice in the regular rituals of birthdays and holidays and even the tooth fairy who made an appearance just last night but can't think of anything really unique that we do.

Peggy said...

I don't want to say I have rituals, in some sort of way that sounds Pagen to me, and I'm not superstitious, like having to cross myself or tying the left shoe first... but I think through the ebb and flow of life I may have gone through traditions or as I think I'm calling them now adventures.... what happens, happens, where we end up... we're there.

One adventure we took on Sunday was our annual Fall Family pictures. For the past 21 years Jeff and I have taken pictures around the 3rd weekend in October...we have pictures with one dog, then a baby, then in Tennessee, then two babies, another dog, another state park etc... as we've grown and changed. Stay tuned to my blog to see the latest photo shoot! :0)
And our adventures as we figure out how to create the fun!

Claudia said...

An annual photo is a great family ritual. And, I love that each year it is taken at around the same time. It makes it even easier to see how each of you has changed.

Lots of people let the birthday boy/girl select a favorite meal for their birthday dinner. That's another great example of a ritual that says, "You shine."

Heather said...

I'd just like to go on the record and say that our community is amazing! I've been blessed today by two of you in ways that are unmeasurable.

Claudia said...

What a cliffhanger, Heather. Do tell.

Heather said...

I'd rather not air publicly but we have very generous readers who are giving even when they have no direct connection to the person involved.

Kate said...

The one ritual I have is in regards to my kid's birthdays. My mom always made a big deal of my birthday, and it made me feel really special. We had cake for dinner and dinner for dessert! What's better than that?

For my boys, I make their breakfast in the shape of their age. I used my cookie cutters and cut a "2" out of apples I sliced, cinnamon sugar toast, and a sausage patty. When they turned one, my hubby was deployed AND it was flu season so we were stuck in the house! I made them a pancake with cherries in it in the shape of a #1. They love it and I hope they will remember it. Because one day, they won't think those things are cool anymore. My kids SHINE in their own way, which makes me feel like I SHINE as a mother.

Katie K said...

I have mentioned this before, but my mom always wakes us up on our birthday by singing happy birthday to us. Even now, she calls me so early in the morning of my birthday- when I answer, she's singing already. It's a ritual and no birthday would feel complete without it. It makes me feel special from the very first moment that my eyes open that day!

Peggy said...

Why does the 'mum' cost $200????

Claudia said...

Great question, Peggy. Mums cost $200.00 for the same reason roses cost more around Valentine's Day than they do.

I've already decided next year I will make the mum for Ricky's date. There are not hard, now that I've seen one.

Jessie Freeman said...

Sorry for the late in the day (or night) post! I would have to agree with so many others - birthdays are always rituals that we celebrate. We rush to see who can be the first to call. In addition to that we always make our family "famous" (to us...) waffles on Christmas morning!