When she was small, my oldest daughter Rosy had a thing about rituals. For a while I feared OCD. She asked people how old they were over and over again, even after they answered her. She cleared her throat when she was nervous. She had quirks, too many to list.
And I never thought they'd go away. And I certainly never thought I'd miss them.
When she was nine I made her sleep in her room. It wasn't that she slept with us ALL the time or anything. It was a bed hopping situation that had to stop with the new baby in the house. It wasn't an easy transition.
And so, in her own way, she made it better for herself. She created a ritual.
After I tucked her in and kissed her, right before my foot crossed the threshold of her room into the freedom that was the hallway, she'd say "I hope you good dreams Mommy," and then stare at me until I said it back.
I remember noticing that the wording was odd. The creation of a sleepy child. And there were times I just DID NOT WANT to say it back to her. To break her of the habit.
Sometimes I left the room, explaining that we would just try not saying it so that we could prove that the earth would not collapse.
But after she was asleep, or right before, I'd go back and whisper it into her ear anyway-- quirk be damned.
I don't remember when she stopped asking me to say it. Or, more importantly, when she stopped saying it to me. And now? I miss it. It aches me so.
Good night Rosy,
I hope you good dreams.