Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Traditions

The other night in a restaurant, three children and their too-loud dad were seated next to me. After dabbling in math about whether they’d be better off with kids’ meals or splitting adult plates, the dad began talking about his sadness that no one seemed to listen to him and that the family was losing all their traditions. “For example,” he said, “I think a good tradition would be for you to call me every night. And maybe stay over at my house on Tuesdays. It’s not really fair that Mom gets to have you most nights while I get every other weekend. I’m not saying we should have say thirteen and thirteen days a month, but four out of the twenty-six isn’t right. Is anyone listening? What did I just say?”

The oldest daughter said, “You think there should be more traditions in the world.”

I got my rice cakes and tofu and was grateful I’d never had to do math re nights for my daughter. And I liked this eldest girl. The world could use more traditions, and my favorite new one for fall are the Thursday lunches and semi-silent writing Jo established before heading off to teach. There are pots of tea, lattes, avocado salads, hearing the latest re book banning, and loving thoughts of friends who aren’t at the table for good or sad or simply distance-related reasons.

And while I can’t cheer a daily word count, I notice that week by week, I’m seeing edges of new chapters on those wooden tables.


  1. Ohhh, that restaurant conversation makes my heart bleed. 😦
    But on a lighter subject, the idea of rituals and traditions made me smile this morning. It’s fascinating to talk about the different rituals each of us engages in…worthy of its own post, don’t you think? Speaking of which, may I pour you some coffee or tea?

  2. This post made me cry.
    See you soon with hugs.

  3. You have a listening ear and, even better, a listening heart. And I wish so much that I could be part of your Thursday tradition! But thank you for the lovely glimpse of you all there among the tea tables.

  4. Yes, I love both rituals and tea, which of course go so well together. Yes, please pour!

  5. Thank you for your presence and hugs!

  6. You are certainly one of those we invoke, wishing you were here in person, too. I hope October brings you good news.

  7. Oh, this one hurts a bit. I can just hear the girl knowing just what her dad said, but either not wanting to spend more time with him or not wanting to get into the middle between him and their mom, not having the weight of it all put on HER shoulders. I’m thinking she gave the best answer she could.
    Glad you’re getting your Thursday traditions. Hope Jo will be back soon!

  8. I always love hearing about your observations, Jeannine, even though this one was sad.
    And your Thursday tradition is wonderful! It’s inspiring to me to think of you writing and drinking tea with friends.

  9. My impression was that these things had been said before, and yes, the children knew the mathematical arrangements were out of their power. It was sad, though the kids seemed nicely bonded.
    The Thursdays are nice, and we get to drive through gorgeous colors these October days.
    Have a good weekend, Becky!

  10. It was a sad scene to witness, yes: the children though did seem in the flow of their lives, as children so heroically often are.
    We will be happy to lift a cup of tea to you there, Lorraine! I’ll be teaching on Thursdays after January, which is nice, but I will miss these afternoons!

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