I love to hear the little things that parents do with their child to mark particular moments. They are almost like little rituals, special yet intimate, between parent and child. Neither plan it. It just happens one day…and sticks. In and of itself, the gesture is insignificant.
As time accumulates this shared-littlest-thing gains significance. Why? It’s intentional and in the moment—and it’s all yours… just between the two of you. Public or private, it’s personal.
….The way you say hello at the beginning of the day or as our child arrives for a visit.
….The way you say good-bye as the child heads to school, a friend’s, an activity or back to her apartment; or the parent drives away to work.
….The way you mark a celebration together – from watching your team win on TV, playing a board game or enjoying a personal achievement
….The way you hug, kiss good night or exchange words at bedtime.
….The way you end a phone call.
As my brothers and I each left home for college, our parents would stand in the street and wave good-bye until our car was out of view. I’d roll down the window and wave. For the longest time, I didn’t appreciate their gesture; I took it for granted.
Years passed, I married and eventually 5 hands were waving out the windows as we left my parents’ home. Though there was often squabbling in the backseat to have more window territory, generally the kids were shouting, “I can still see them! They’re still waving!”
Growing frail, Dad couldn’t stand too long to wave, but Mom pressed on. And if we urged her to stay inside because of the weather, she’d insist, “I’m fine and you’re not going to stop me.”
Something so simple became so significant to all of us.
Somewhere along the way the entire family named it “the Grandma wave”. My sweet momma can’t stand outside to wave anymore, and that’s okay. We’ve taken up her example. When our children visit, we stand outside and wave until we can’t see their hands waving back to us.
Do you have a littlest thing that you share with your child? It’s never too late to begin.
I’d love to hear about yours!