When Kerry was born, I was working 40 hours per week in a non-benefitted job, and attending graduate school. Our rituals revolved around surviving. After graduating, and moving on, and then up in my work, the pattern continued. I'm not a big celebrator of holidays, and have remained entrenched in The Grind. I don't know how to stop and celebrate.
When Kerry was in high school, his friend Mauricio had returned from Mexico without his parents. He had mostly grown up in the US. His friends were here and he was deeply depressed before making the return journey to couch surf and crash with whoever would have him. He eventually landed with us.
When Kerry was around fifteen, he and his friends spent all weekend at my house. From after school Friday until late Sunday, there were between three and six boys at my house. I committed to being available to drive them around because I knew that as soon as he or one of his friends got a car, I would never see them again. I wasn't wrong. They would stay up all night and sleep all day. I fed them and the other kids parents never checked in or contributed in any way.
I got so sick of them sleeping all day that any time they had a day off school, I would take a vacation day from work and make them go on a day trip with me.
We went to The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve, Shatto Dairy to milk cows, and we took a tour of the Harley Davidson factory. It wasn't always a good time. The boys wanted to sleep and Kerry had to act like he hated going on these trips, but I insisted. His friends were the good sports, otherwise I don't think we would have left our own neighborhood.
A few years later we were reminiscing and Mauricio said, “remember all those traditions you and Kerry had?” I didn't know what he was talking about until he explained.
Our traditions have evolved. When we shared a house and neither had to go to work, we would make a big breakfast. Now we occasionally go out, or take the dogs to the woods for long hikes. When I remember those little adventures and the impact it might have had on a group of drifting teens, I wonder if it isn't time to establish some new family rituals.