We knight each other in this house. I'm not really sure when it started, but I love it.
The other day, as I was getting everybody out of the car I said to Madeline,
"Please close the van door and go hang your book-bag up on its hook. You'll be Madeline the Helpful."
Her response was more than I could have hoped for. She perked up and proclaimed,
"Yes! I am Madeline the Helpful! And Madeline the Door-Closer! And Madeline the In-a-New-Van-er. Madeline the Tough! Madeline the Fun! Madeline the Useful! Madeline the Curious! Madeline the Bird-watcher! Madeline the Chick-Fil-A-Eater! Madeline the School-goer! Madeline the Learn about God-er! Madeline the Sam-dimpler! Madeline the Music-lover! And Madeline the GROWER!"
(I grabbed a scrap of paper and jotted down as many as I could, but I couldn't write shorthand as fast as she was prattling away. I think my favorite is Madeline the Sam-dimpler; she delights in making her brother show off his dimple.)
It's a sweet, playful way to celebrate the best in each other. But I've also found that it adds a shade of nobility, officiality, if you will. It says more than "you helped;" it says, "you are helpful."
Dan and I are not a "schmoopsy-poo, honey-bear" kind of couple. I've never even referred to him as "hubs,"or "hubby." But there is one particular term of endearment he uses that makes my heart want to explode with love for him.
Every time I call him on the phone, my picture appears with the name,
"Kathryn the Brave"
He dubbed me thus during the first year of our marriage. I was pregnant with my first surprise baby, surrounded by cardboard boxes filled with all our earthly possessions, having just moved into a tiny apartment in a new state where Dan was literally the only person I knew. Not long after that we found out that our beautiful surprise baby girl was blind. It was a big year. A tough year.
There were so many days that I thought, "I just want someone to recognize that what I'm doing is hard. I just want someone to tell me I'm brave." When things were really scary and unknown and new and mostly dark, Dan saw bravery in me, and he dubbed me. Kathryn the Brave.
I still want to cultivate a strong, quiet bravery in my life. A spirit that, when confronted with something hard or daunting, takes a deep breath and presses on. I want to have the courage to be kind, the courage to forgive, the courage to be patient, the courage to trust, the courage to just. keep. going.
I don't know who in your life needs knighting - a child who needs to be "My Child the Helpful;" a spouse who needs to be "My Husband the Faithful" or "My Wife the Gracious;" or maybe it's "My Mother the Wise" or "My Friend the Kind" - but whoever it is, I encourage you to knight somebody today.
It's sweet and playful and memorable; and it might just bring out the best in them.