Some recent events have caused me to reflect on particular “ritual” type practices from my childhood, back-to-school type preparations in particular. I recall being tugged along the streets of Kingstown to various stores as my mother searched for the right fabric to make either my school or Brownie uniform, a skirt and head-dress for a school’s cultural event.
I recall standing at her side while she instructed the sales person as to the length of the fabric that she desired and watching her inspect the fabric to ensure it was up to scratch.
I also remember her purchasing ribbons – brown when I was in primary school and blue for my entry into secondary school. Whenever my mother bought some ribbon material she would cut it to the length she desired, and to prevent the ribbon from fraying she would lightly singe the edges with fire or use a pair of pinking shears if she had any.
I went through a similar process of purchasing ribbons for little miss for her nursery school graduation. I bought baubles and ribbon material. When the sales lady asked how many yards I wanted, in a store that was a combination of E.D. Laynes and Jax Enterprises, I blinked, realizing in that moment I was walking a comparable path as my mother and making similar decisions.
This was also on my mind when I cut the ribbons to the length I wanted and as I singed their edges ever so slightly with a lighter.
I also had a similar moment the previous week registering little miss for primary school. As I stood in line waiting to pay the fees, I reflected on the fact that time was moving so swiftly and that I couldn’t believe that I, we, were already thinking about book lists and games uniforms.
Since the beginning of this parenting journey I have had moments where the full scope of it all hits me, moments where I have whispered “wow” to myself, bewildered at how much raising a human being can challenge the way a person sees themselves and the way they see their parents and the other adults who have had some influence on their life.
There have also been moments where, despite how different the times are a simple act, like of measuring, cutting, and singeing a pair of ribbons could bind you to your elders in a “ritual” of sort, a ritual of care that transports you to your own childhood and, because children asks questions and take mental notes, may well transport you into the future.
Entering this next stage of parenthood, of little miss’s life, carrying with me caring practices I learned from my own mother I think about other practices I might fall into when the time arises, rituals that would bind me, like ribbons to the care I received before.