25 Oct 2010


12 Comments Personal Crap

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.

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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12 Responses to “Rituals”

  1. Reply AL says:

    Ok…You absolutely CRACK ME UP! Are you SURE you are not Irish? Growing up in a family who took it to heart that it was a duty to frighten thier children of 1) strangers, 2) the dark , 3) the Devil 4) anyone Catholic, specifically, nuns and priests 5) drowning by falling through the ice (popular in our frozen part of the country) 6) policemen, 7) large, barking dogs, 8) and fire….specifically, Hell fire. That’s about all, except for being afraid that the bath water would suck me down the drain if I accidently dislodged the rubber stopper…(someone mentioned that could happen because I was so skinny)

    The Afraid of the Dark ritual required checking under the bed, inside the closet and each drawer of the dresser (while the lights were on) before attempting the “get into bed without touching the floor” maneuver. The light switch was on the opposite side of the room from my bed, about a eight foot span…..I must reach the bed before the light disappeared. You can imagine the horrific scramble and leap that took place each night…crashing onto the “safety” of my bed before whatever was lurking under my bed could capture me! (This is AFTER the pre-bed inspection took place each night) Once in bed…I would set about centering myself right to left, top to bottom, lying absolutely ram rod straight so I could see the arms, tentacles of the monsters before they could grab me. Once under the bed, the trap door into their cave/dungeon would open and I would become their slave, or lunch. (These trap doors only would openable at night)

    Then, the shadows would start their migration…..I would, at some point, fall asleep while mumbling the only bedtime prayer I knew…”Now I lay me down to sleep, If I should DIE before I wake, I pray the Lord my SOUL to take” Yikes! The worst memory of the shadows…was the night I had fallen asleep and awoke to see a ghost, wearing a dress, suspended at the foot of my bed! As I lie there, frozen by fear, to petrified to call out…I began to recognize the ghost’s dress was identical to my Sunday School dress.

    In fact, my Mother had come into my room to hang the dress, freshly ironed, on my closet door, not wanting to awaken me by opening the door to hang it inside. ( If I hadn’t recognized the dress, I am quite confident I would have expired before morning.) Why everyone in my family thought it was hyterically funny, I never understood.

    Your rituals were much better organized and made perfect sense to me! Thank you, I needed to laugh today….priceless!

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Oh. My. Gosh. So fantastic. You touched upon something I wasn’t even really THINKING of! All the fears that haunt young ‘uns in the night.
      How DO ANY OF US EVER SLEEP????? Brilliant comment. I can just imagine your horror at seeing that dang floating dress. Genius.

  2. Reply Tracy K says:

    You are hilarious and thanks for sharing that one!  I’m going to make you feel very sane.  You are much more brave than I was, I thought for sure if I said anything bad “to happen” to my parents it would surely happen and so I would NEVER mention them dying!  Which brings me into my ritual, which was that I was sure that the universe would grant whatever I asked.  
    So if I asked for a new toy and got it, I thought it was because I made it happen. Now, you may be wondering how I explained when I didn’t get the toy. Well, that meant that it was a period of time when the universe did exactly the opposite of what I wanted (maybe the universe was mad at me, I don’t know).  This led to me spending much of my time trying to figure out if it was a period of time when I get what I want or when I don’t. For instance, if I wanted a new toy, I would ponder “do I admit (to myself by the way) that I want it or do I say (to myself by the way) that I don’t want it because then I’ll trick the universe and get it!”. Yes, yes I am a special kind of crazy.   This did however prevent me from every wishing anything bad on anyone because “my powers” were too strong to play around with. 

    Oh, and I used to RUN across my bedroom from the door to my bed because I was SURE Jaws would come out of my carpet and eat me! (Note to self: Don’t take my kids to movies like Jaws when they are 5 years old). Thanks mom and dad. 

  3. Reply Maegan says:

    Another great post –
    I can’t remember any fanatical rituals, but I’m sure I had them.
    I know that the usual fear of dark things were there.
    I know that I wrote a lot of notes about how much I hated my mom and stashed them under my bed until she found them. Oops. That didn’t go over well.
    And I prayed lots and lots too –
    Dear Lord, Please Bless me and keep me safe and let me marry a good husband and help my face to clear up. Amen.
    It worked. 🙂

  4. Reply Max says:

    Poor thing, you’ve ALWAYS been exhausted!

  5. Reply Ange says:

    Damn I tend to find ur post and I see the date too late to reply back:( I was in Hawaii with no stupid connections…

    I’m jet lagged but want to get this one in:)
    So u were saying about rituals

    Omg I’m not the only one… I thought I was strange but it sounds like a very normal thing….phew…..
    I use to wash my hands like 50million times a day count 1000 times and so forth as same reason as u incase something will happened to a family member….

    Let’s see I use to stress a lot…no sleep …. Endless counting … Instead of reading a 2min email take me like 15min…. I was always busy in the head… But I look back omg was I normal?

    Anyways I was worry wort from a young age…. But now my goodness if anyone steps on me I go total nuts not psychotic but angry….(this is where I start telling u of my prob I’ll have to pay u to listen) but yeah some of my weird things…. Meh I still to this day do this couple -few times make sure hands are clean …. But I a neat freak… I can’t sleep if it’s dirty around me….. So yeah… I’m a bit of a nutter:)

    nah but seriously just want to say ur not strange… Seriously normal… Good post
    U have very interesting things on hear and it’s good thanks for the posts… Like always keep them

  6. Reply Ange says:

    Wait wait wait I don’t go psycho angry…. Hehehe just have to make sure it doesn’t sound like I’m a maniac…. U know the type of getting on my nerves pissing me off anger that type…. 🙂

  7. Reply Ange says:

    Goodness me I so am….lol….well u ever saw me I’m totally clean… I have to live like a queen…seriously we deserve it…. One day I’ll be nutter free… When I’m the queen… Lol as if that’ll happen…anyways… Rambling on… Hang on what is SOCD? I don’t know if i heard of it??

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