Growing up, I remember watching the Waltons with my mom before going to Kindergarten in the afternoon. I remember standing in front of the TV while she brushed my hair and watching them do their Walton goodnight. You remember? “Goodnight Ma. Goodnight Pa. Goodnight John-boy…” I always thought it was so funny… but in a way I was jealous of them having a big family that they could say goodnight to.
Now, if you know my mom (Nana), you know she never lost her love for the Waltons. She watches them whenever she can get away with it. Eventually, to be funny, Jeff and I started doing our own goodnight. Yelling out from opposite ends of the hallway: “Goodnight Mom, Goodnight Dad, Goodnight Bubba, Goodnight Sissy.” Usually, one (or both!) of us would tack on there, “Goodnight John-boy” as a final snarky remark. We did this for years and years.
I totally forgot about our little ritual until Don and I had kids. Once they got old enough to be in regular beds, we started our own “goodnight” ritual. “Goodnight. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams. Love you. Nighty-night. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
On one particularly rough evening with them, after going through the ritual, I walked into the kitchen and said, “And, mommy is off the clock.”
A few months later, I walked out of their bedroom and was walking into the living room, and I heard Bo ask: “Mommy, can I ask you a question?”
Before I could say “Sure,” I hear Mo say: “She can’t answer Bo, mommy is off the clock.”
I laughed so hard I cried. I really need to stop being snarky.
Traditions are important to me. Sometimes, traditions are all you have to hold on to when someone passes away. I am glad that I have been able to carry on a tradition that my brother and I started 25 years ago. Especially since he was never able to have his own goodnight ritual with his own kids.
I am sure my kids and I will have some sort of Walton goodnight – eventually snarky, of course – until they move out. My only hope is, once they have kids, they continue what we call the Walton goodnight. Snarkiness optional.
Interestingly, as I was searching for a clip of the Walton Goodnight, I came across an article that the Pa on the show, Ralph Waite, passed away a few days ago at the age of 85. Even more strangely, this blog post has been in my calendar to write for months. Funny how things like that happen.
So, goodnight Pa Walton. Godspeed.
I’m sure, somewhere in heaven, my brother is chuckling as he calls out “Goodnight, John-Boy. Goodnight Pa.”