When my daughter was in primary school, her teacher asked each of them to write about their favorite family tradition. My daughter never let me read anything she wrote before she handed it in, and I respected her wishes.
Their essays were taped to the wall during grandparents’ day. Since her grandparents lived hundreds of miles away, I went on their behalf. One of her classmates wrote, “During spring break, we all go skiing in Switzerland, with my cousins and grandparents.” Others wrote about holiday celebrations with their families.
My daughter’s essay sounded like a lament, but I knew her well enough to recognize she’d memorialized something she considered special. She wrote, “My mom and I make microwave popcorn and take it to her room to watch videos. We pretend we’re at the movies.”
Private time with my daughter was, and is, the most exquisite of pleasures. It’s a time of laughter and fun. She received great instruction at school, and was a self-sufficient student. Our time together was always special, and memorable.
Despite the passage of many years and thousands of miles, our connection during those special moments is the same as when we shared a bag of popcorn, snuggled under the covers. I’ve never let on that the tradition she and I most treasure began when travelled home from college to stay with my mother, who had the first weekend alone since her marriage.
My younger brothers were in college and my dad was in China. “Let’s watch a movie together in my room,” Mom said. I woke up the next morning in her bed. “Mom, why didn’t you wake me up and tell me to go back to my own bed?” My room was steps away.
She averted her eyes. “I couldn’t. You were sleeping so peacefully.”
Special moments stay with us.