A few of the long-standing rituals without which I fear I might float away:
A daily to-do list, made each morning at dawn and returned to throughout the day, only three of which, in twenty-five years and to the best of my recollection, have ever been crossed out in their entirety.
Picturing each of my beloveds and blessing each in turn, also at dawn.
Toffee-making with my daughters the entire month of December.
A Thursday late-night phone call with my best friend as she is driving home from her classes.
My mother telling me that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
An annual birthday email from a friend of 30 years’ standing.
The filling in, week by week, month by month, year by year, of three blank journals, one for each of my children.
A daily long walk with my dog or his cousin.
The Y every other day, and the people I always see there and never speak to, but nod to in respectful greeting: the tall bald man on the stairmaster, the blond woman on the bike, the elderly woman with the bright orange tennis shoes, the two loud men side by side on their inclined treadmills from 5:30-6:30 a.m., the always-pleasant man at the check-in counter, the multi-tattooed weightlifting woman.
One small mug of hot strong coffee at dawn, with heavy whipping cream stirred in.
While waiting for our food in restaurants, playing rummy (and losing, continually, to the best rummy player I know).
Music, of all kinds, at all volumes, at all times of the day and night.
Listening to my father mispronounce my name (yes, I am his daughter, and yes, he has mispronounced my name all my life) as Al-Oh-Sun.
Waking my children at 6:45 a.m.
Making sure that as much as possible in my life happens in threes or multiples of three.
An annual trip to Minnetonka Orchards, where the cider doughnuts and cider brats are eaten in abundance.