I keep wondering what my son’s rituals are going to be. We all have them, and as a kid I had nothing BUT them! I know Garrett already has some, like the stuff he does before bed. But I think I created some of those, like saying goodnight to the shadows because he used to be scared of them.
But when I was a kid, it probably really got under way when I was around five or six, I had a litany of things I’d do to get through the day. I did the typical “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” stuff. I’d accidentally step on a crack and go back to the beginning to fix it. Sometimes my 5 minute walk home from elementary school took 20. I’d play basketball on my driveway at home and say things like, “If I miss this basket, Mom will die.” Then I’d miss it and say, “I have to make three baskets in a row, and she’ll be okay.” Miss again. “I have to make five baskets in a row.” This would go on until I’d get however many baskets in a row I’d need to make everything right again. I’d rush to make sure I got it done before it was time for my mom to leave work. I didn’t want her driving home before I had saved her life.
I think that’s all fairly basic stuff. I also did the constant hand-washing, checking everything 100 times, making sure doors were locked… Oh WAIT! I still do all that stuff NOW! I’m not OCD, just slightly OCD. I’m SOCD. It clearly started years ago.
So, here’s where it gets weird. Please take this all in and try not to laugh at me. Not too hard, at least.
I prayed a lot. A whole lot. I’d pray for hours. I’d cry and pray until I fell asleep. Every night. Mom, if you’re reading this I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It was just something I had to do. I’d pray that my family would be safe. I’d pray that Russia wouldn’t get us with the nuclear bombs. (Reminder to self: Don’t watch the news with Garrett around until he’s a teenager.) (Other not to self: You don’t watch the news, remember?) (Last note to self: Watch the news occasionally. You should be more informed.) I would pray and pray and pray. I’d say the same thing over and over hundreds of times, really fast. It involved people not being raped or murdered or harmed or looked at wrong or underdressed at a fancy event. No, seriously. It was odd. I think I thought of everything bad that could happen to a person, and prayed that it wouldn’t happen to anyone in my family or friends, or any “good, god-fearing people in the whole world.” I was a very concerned little girl. And sleep deprived from all the friggin’ praying. I still pray a lot, but sleep is more important to me now.
Here’s the thing I did that I never thought I’d admit to the world. I told my sis-in-law about it years ago, and she still brings it up today. I had over 100 stuffed animals. I knew all their names and I gave them each a sip of water before bed. But that’s not the thing. The thing is, whenever I’d go out of the house I’d talk to them. Here’s what I’d do: I’d say, “Tune in, tune in, tune in”, and then all of them could hear me. I’d talk to them in my head and I’d also let them in on all of my conversations and classes, because they could hear what was going on around me. If I wanted them to stop listening I’d say, “Tune out, tune out, tune out”. Here’s where the HILARIOUS part comes in. A lot of times I’d tune them in at the beginning of the day, then hours later I’d realize, “Oh SHIT! I never said ‘tune out!'” And I’d think, “Did I say anything horrible that I wouldn’t want MY STUFFED ANIMALS to hear?” Then I’d tune them in, just in case I HAD tuned them out, and I’d apologize for anything that might have offended them.
Oh my god. I just read that back. I’m a tool.
So, Garrett will obviously not be a normal child. My husband and I are both nut-bags when it comes to locking doors, setting alarms, waking up to make sure the oven is turned off… So I’m sure some of that will be passed on. And I can only assume the other crazy shit will somehow make it into his genes as well. I hope someday he writes a blog so I can find out what his rituals are, because otherwise I’ll never know. Unless I start a new ritual: Watching and listening to every little thing Garrett does or says. Oh wait, I already do that!
Please share some of your own childhood rituals so I can feel a little less crazy.