New tradition, a phrase without much logic. How can something be a tradition if it is new? Not sure but that is what I am choosing to use to describe what Anya and I have begun. A new tradition has taken shape
in the life of my daughter and I. Whenever she feels like things at school are a bit much or a tad confusing Anya requests a squishy time with me. It is a time, just for the two of us, right before bed when the world gets set aside and we can just talk. It is not very frequent but when it happens it is so beautiful. I let Anya be the director of our squishy time, when it happens and what we talk about. My heart overflows with joy as we sit in her dimmed room and I am privileged to hear the beautiful heart of an almost 10 year talk about her worries, thoughts and philosophies of life.
The time is called squishy time because we each hold a squishy toy, like the ones I have in my office when I work with my clients. Holding these in our hands is a symbol that we can talk about whatever we want and have a really good chance at being heard. It means any frustrations between each other during the day, for example this evening when I asked three times before she put something away, or when I was a little on edge with her, is forgotten. Squishy time, means you will be heard, you will be loved for whatever you can bring. It is a beautiful new tradition in our lives.
Tonight, Anya and I had a squishy time. I on the bean bag, she on her bed. The lights were dimmed and we settled in to our comfy talk positions. Anya started the conversation when we were suddenly interrupted. Snickers, our amazingly "special" potcake entered the room. We had forgotten to shut the door. I snapped my fingers and pointed out, this was a time for Anya and I, we needed no distractions during our squishy time. Snickers backed slowly out of the room and took off down the hall. I did not feel very badly but I did feel some guilt. Snickers has special attention needs and they were not being met all because I did not want anything to interrupt our new squishy time tradition.
Anya and I got into the heart of the matter and I was about to speak when something caught my eye. Snickers had returned. Normally Snickers barges in and jumps on whoever is available to cuddle, this time Snickers remained at the door waiting for an invitation to come in. As I looked further, both Anya and I melted at the same time. Snickers had brought her chew toy to the door and when we made eye contact she dropped the toy at the opening of the door, tilted her head and looked longingly at the the two of us. This might sound crazy but it was like she was saying, can I have some squishy time too, I brought the mandatory toy! Anya and I paused to admire the scene that was out of any Hollywood movie, our conversation not broken, just on hold . Anya invited Snickers in and as she did Snickers bent down, picked up her toy and trotted to Anya's bed to take her spot in the cue for sharing your heart.
It was a quick but a very sweet and memorable moment. Usually nothing interrupts Anya and I during our squishy talk but tonight even with our tradition being a new one we decided to revise the rules to meet the need of our very sweet and needy potcake.
I would like to take this moment to tell you that I am still sane and that Snickers did not go in to a lengthy diatribe on the perils of being at home all day with out a human, but Snickers did watch Anya and I intently as we connected deeply on the issue that both of us were undeniably human. Snickers, like Anya, like myself, like you; sought connection. We revised the rules to our new tradition of squishy time to accommodate the needs of another. It was different but it still worked.
Here is today's take home. Rethink your traditions, whether they are old or new, rethink them to make sure they are still meeting the needs for which they were created. Perhaps, there is a need for a revision to the practice of these traditions to let others find benefit. Don't get stuck in ways that have always been, you never know what they can become if you let them.
Shine on my friends and my your traditions feel ever new!