Miss Mary Mack

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She quietly plays a hand game with her Aunt-to-be. Miss Mary Mack, they chant, slapping each other’s hands in rhythms. These hand-clapping games are as old as apple pie.

I remember my sisters doing similar games. I was very fond of the string games, Cats in the cradle. This framing of the hands like a heart to focus on an object you love is new to me. I find it so delightful. I understand why 10-year-old girls especially love it.

What is it about the little rituals that make childhood so special? Why did I not appreciate it more when I was a parent? Now as grandparent it all seems so precious. Jumping rope with the little poems that accompany them, playing Jacks, and playing Marco Polo in the pool. Can we ever forget saying, “Mom, get your head wet.” My grandkids say it to me and it makes we howl with laughter inside.

I have tried to secretly promise myself that if they ask me to play and I can, I will drop whatever and “play” with them.

What is it about the little rituals that make childhood so special? Why did I not appreciate them more when I was a parent? Now as grandparent it all seems so precious. Perhaps it is because I now have the time to soak it in, or because I understand how fragile life can be. Maybe understanding that the days go so quickly and you can never retrieve them.

I read a article saying that happiness is based on taking in the smallest things and loving them. Appreciating them. It is that simple. I can do that. I can learn Miss Mary Mack. I can get my head wet. Jumping rope? Well that may be…just fine.

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