My daughter, Lucy, and I have a thing for hearts. We spot them everywhere and then bask in the good luck and joy they will undoubtedly bring us. We see heart-shaped clouds, heart-shaped leaves, and heart-shaped cracks in the sidewalk. We even decided one of her moles was heart-shaped (well, more like heart-ish-shaped), which is a continuous source of pride and bragging rights for her.
For Lucy, this is our thing that we do together. We’re heart spotters. She brings me rocks that are heart-shaped, and she comes home from school and recounts all the heart-shaped things she saw. She lights up like a million Christmas trees when she finds one, mostly because she knows it will make me happy to hear all about it.
For me, I consider our heart sightings a sign that life is good. They remind me to relax, to take a deep breath, to let go of whatever blithering-blathering crisis I am devoting way too much energy toward. They often happen at just the right moment, when I most need to bring it down a notch, reset, and recalibrate.
It’s such a simple thing, the heart spotting, but it has become a way of connecting for my daughter and me. It also gives me that gentle nudge to live on purpose and find love in the sky, on the playground, at the office, and even in the cracks of the sidewalk.
Truly, simple rituals like these are what matters. In the years to come, my daughter and I will fondly remember our heart-spotting. I’m willing to bet we won’t remember the endless soccer practices and swim meets; the homework and the school projects; the parade of skinned knees and stubbed toes; or the piles of stuffed animals and Pokemon cards.
We’ll remember the caramel apples in the fall, the Valentine’s Day fondue, and the way my husband always picks the perfect song to be the “soundtrack” to whatever we’re doing. We’ll remember a beloved blanket or pink clouds that call to mind a sweet grandmother. We’ll remember the things that made us feel connected, special, and loved.
What kind of rituals do you and your family have? Although they may seem like a meandering footnote, they are the most illuminating parts of our stories. Almost unwittingly, we weave these quirky traditions into our days and years and become defined by them. They remind us that there is a chance to love and be loved at every turn. You just have to spot the heart.