I’ve heard ceremony described as movement or gesture expressing feeling or belief beyond the limits of speech – a feeling that when encountered in a family or group, increases their sense of belonging and strengthens their shared experiences.
It doesn’t take much to create ceremony – mostly just pure intention – taking the time to think something through, to keep the moment simple, meaningful and memorable.
I was reminded of this after speaking with a mom of three who had just learned the sex of her fourth baby to be. She shared the way they chose for it to happen.
She, her husband and oldest daughter went to the ultrasound appointment together. Their daughter, they felt, was old enough and interested enough to appreciate this experience versus the two younger ones at home. However, as the moment approached when they might observe the sex of the baby on the screen, they turned away. The technician wrote down the sex on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and gave it to Dad.
That night at their family dinner, guess what? The envelope was opened by the middle child, too young to be present at the ultrasound, but not too young to read the word, BOY!
This thoughtful mom considered how significant it was for all family members to hear this together, to celebrate the surprise and the excitement, to welcome the joyful news as a family.
Later, each child got to look at their own ultrasound pictures when they were in utero.
I imagine that every family member at the table that evening felt this strengthened sense of belonging, felt included, felt held, just by this thoughtful act of sharing. A new child, a new sibling is a family event. Everyone matters, everyone will be affected, all should be involved.
The beauty of ceremony is that it is special and doesn’t happen often. So as we go along in our family lives, take some time to be mindful of those moments that might resonate for our families, feelings beyond the limits of speech.
And … blessings to this beloved little guy in mama’s womb. Your family looks forward to welcoming you.