Abby is her mother’s daughter. She keeps very detailed notes about her days in a Boston Terrier-themed calendar which hangs on the back of her bedroom door. It gives me such deep pleasure to look at her elaborate system of chronicling. Days are circled, numbers x’d out, playdates and soccer games all recorded in advance. She never ever misses a day and when the month turns, she insists the whole family weigh in on the latest Boston Terrier photo and how much or how little it resembles our own (truly bonkers) BT, Iris. Earlier this week, when she flipped from October to November she took a quick scan of the grid and asked, “So what’s next, Mom?” I wasn’t sure what she meant. “You know, how we just celebrated Halloween and my birthday? And so what’s next to celebrate? Thanksgiving?” She found the little note on November 25 and confirmed the answer for herself. I could see her doing what I do, hooking a mental bungee cord to the top of the November mountain and start working her way towards her reward. I love how kids always need something to look forward to, how their little optimistic spirits naturally crave it.
Lucky for parents, the calendar does the heavy lifting on providing the events, so all we have to do is come up with an overlay of richness, a concept more commonly known as Rituals. We have lots of holiday rituals in our house, and you’ll be hearing about them soon, but for now I want to hear about yours. The ones you’ve done on every Thanksgiving or Hannukah or Christmas or Christmas Eve your whole life, or the ones you’ve just recently started with your kids, the ones you haven’t started but want to steal. Because something tells me DALS readers might want to steal them, too.
So here’s the deal: I’m going to brave the contest waters. Submit your ritual to jenny AT dinneralovestory DOT com or, preferably, via Dinner: A Love Story’s facebook page by Thursday, November 18. Readers can vote/”like” their favorites if they choose, but ultimately a team of experts (me, Abby, Phoebe, Iris) will decide on a winner who will be announced Tuesday, November 23. And how’s this for cool: The winner will walk away with a $75 gift certificate to the amazing CSN, which is comprised of over 200 online stores that sell everything from kitchen counter stools to Le Creuset Dutch ovens. In addition to the CSN giveaway, I will also, of course, be handing out a bunch of “Make Dinner Not War” bumper stickers to runners-up.
Can’t wait to hear from you.
Illustration is by Donald Chaffin and taken from Andy’s childhood copy of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Abby’s current obsession (both the book and the movie).