rhythm

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Dear Ruthi,

I’m behind and feel the need to abandon all my starts at a letter and begin again.

Tonight I finished reading Little House in the Big Woods to the kids. What a pleasure – the story, back to bedtime reading again, being reminded of happy, childhood memories.

I read the series as a kid, though I wasn’t much of a reader then, and I grew up on the TV series. The kids started watching the first season on the drive to and from Florida. Episode three brought tears to my eyes, like the first time I saw it and all the times thereafter. Someone dies and you feel it. These are small steps in the lessons of life, something so often shielded from our children nowadays.

The book told Laura’s story over the course of a year. It started with winter approaching, and ended there as well. The playing out of the seasons and the change it brought to their lives and routines was timely, given I started reading again to the kids at bedtime with this book because our ringette and hockey season just finished up. What an intense season it was.

I have loved this week with a more predictable schedule. Dinners together and kitchen duty shared. Time for the kids to play afterwards and a chance to be outside. And of course back to this reading routine.

Reading at bedtime had always been a big part of our rhythm, along with snuggles for everyone.  This past autumn, that fell to the wayside. And it niggled at me. I worried that my kids were growing up too fast. It wasn’t a routine I was ready to drop and yet I found myself consistently avoiding it – sending the kids up to bed on their own, usually while tending to the one just coming in the door from practice.

Laura’s bedtime routine was listening to Pa play the fiddle. But Pa only played in the evenings  when the days were shorter and the work less intense, which was winter time, before the planting and after the harvesting. And it let me off the hook. It gave me the perspective of time and seasons – to let it be how it is, this ebb and flow and constant growth of my life as a parent.

You and I, we often talk of seasons and cycles. Why is it so hard to remember change, particularly in the midst of living it and its dramatic effects? I’m so curious about the cycles we move through: weather, time, menstrual, lunar, creative, intimacy, friendship – crisis or trauma… moving. We’ve lost the recognition of these rhythms. The permission. The wisdom. We ignore them. We aren’t forced. So much choice. So much available.

I long for rhythm,
as much as I hate monotony…
if not more.
And I want to better recognize that change is what makes a rhythm,
not flat, static continuity.

With love,

Jules

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