Since each of the grandkids here first began to talk, Mandy and I both tried to work with them to say their prayers at night, before they go to sleep.
"Now I lay me down to sleep" -that familiar little prayer is the one we repeated to them, night after night, and slowly but surely, each of them began to pick up the words and memorized it.
During that time, we also made a point of having time to say "God Blesses" after the nitetime prayer and that too has grown considerably over the years with new friends, came new additions and with some losses of family and friends, a few other changes came about with that part of the prayers too.
Tonight, as the kids were ready to head off to bed, Mandy suggested to them -and to me -that we all say our prayers together tonight, in the living room.
This definitely was a change of pace for them as well as for Mandy and for me too but we all agreed to do that.
How nice it was to say the little prayer together first and then, each one of the kids gave their "God Blesses" too -in which we all remembered our immediate family members, then extended family, friends and so on.
The kids always remember their grandfathers -Pappy and Poppy, Grandma Joy and Gram (Pappy and Grandma Joy are their Dad's parents and both are deceased and "Poppy" is what Mandy calls her Dad -who lives out in Nevada and has only been around these grandkids during about four visits to the East Coast but both kids remember his last visit last summer so now, they do have a person to associate with the name and the photos of him as well. They both remember to ask God to Bless Aunt Mike and Aunt Lizzie -my Dad's sisters and their great-great-aunts now gone. Kurtis doesn't remember them as he was too young but Maya still has memories of Aunt Mike in her mind, which amazes me.
Tonight, as I was the last to list my God Blesses, I told the kids that we needed to have God give a special blessing to a little boy, a tiny baby who is our cousin and who has a lot of medical problems. He's only a week old but was born with some severe heart issues and this past Friday, when he was a week old, he had the first of a line of surgeries he will have to have to correct this condition. I told them his name -Benjamin Levi Wagner -which kind of surprised them because Wagner is also their surname too but this baby is a cousin on my Dad's side of my family tree -The Hill side -and I had to explain to them then how we,. how they, are related to little Benjamin. Maya wanted of course to know Benjamin's Mommy and Daddy's name so I told her it's Holly and Garrett. I could see those names didn't register with her nor would the names of Benjamin's grandparents either -Sam and Brenda, much less when I told them his Great-Grandparents names are Arch and Norma Hill. When I explained then that Benjamin's great-grandfather and I are first cousins, Maya wanted to know about that. So I had to explain to her then that Arch's Daddy and my Daddy were brothers and that's how he and I are related then and are "first" cousins.
I know the explanation about the relationship there is a little over her head right now but I figure if I keep telling her about these things, she will learn about her roots and gradually, will come to understand who's who on each side of our family trees.
My plan thus is by doing that, hopefully I will put in place in her mind the roots for her to have a desire as she grows up to know all she can possibly learn about her ROOTS!
And in the meantime, tonight, it was evident that she at least (and probably Kurtis too) in the coming days will remember about this special prayer and why little Benjamin needs them very much right now!
I'm hoping too that by doing our evening prayers together maybe we will start our own little ritual too that will carry on with all of us for a long, long time as well.