My daughter Sabrina and I have this thing. It started in Africa and I blame my friend Julie for starting it. Blame and thank. You’ll see why.
It started one night when Sabrina was having a hard time falling asleep in our tents under star-filled skies on the Serengeti plains. She was eight at the time and bunking with Julie that night (Julie is, in fact, cooler than her Dad, so I understand). To help calm Sabrina to sleep, Julie gently moved her hand over Sabrina’s face, relaxing her while asking what kind of mask Sabrina wanted painted on her face. Julie then used her and Sabrina’s imaginations to ‘paint’ a mask while Sabrina closes her eyes and relaxed off to sleep.
Since then, probably about every other night, Sabrina requests a mask. Sometimes she picks the animal and sometimes I do, usually relating to something we saw that day. I start by ‘cleaning’ the slate and gently brushing her face. Then I go about shaping and sculpting her face into the animal of choice. Whiskers, long nose, big ears, etc… It helps her relax and has become a nice father-daughter ritual, connecting us at the end of the day. Sometimes, I really don’t feel like doing it because I’m dead tired and want to sleep myself.
But I always say yes. Cats are an easy, quick mask but she has caught on to that and sometimes asks for something “not fast”. It’s been three years since that trip and I am happy what started out on a lark has grown into something that helps us feel connected, especially at the end of a long day or after not seeing each other for a week.
Which leads me to ask; Do you have any rituals or traditions you have started while on the road and continued long after returning home? You don’t have to have kids or even a partner, it could be something you do just for yourself.