One of my earliest memories of spirituality practiced comes from my Grandma Mary. Before my family would leave for a trip she would bless my brother and I in Spanish.
When she said the blessing she would first trace a small cross on my forehead, my mouth, and then give me the sign of the cross that Catholics normal do to themselves; forehead, chest and each shoulder. I would then have to kiss the hand that she was blessing me with. I remember my parents blessing me as well as my aunts and uncles.
So, here’s the blessing.
Por la Senal de la Santa Cruz de nuestro enimigos libranos Senor, Dios nuestro. En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Spiritu Santu.
Here it is in English
By the sign of the holy cross deliver us from our enemies Lord, our God. In the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Blessing is a tradition that I have done with my children.
When I put my children to bed I trace the cross on their forehead and say, “Remember that you are beloved child of God.” I then ask my children to bless me. My youngest usually traces two crosses on my forehead and says says, “You are a beloved daddy of God.” My old traces one cross and says, “I love you daddy.” These are blessings I carry with me to bed.
Andy Root writes about prayer, “Prayer forces us to see others as persons; it unleashes the metal claw of individualism to see personhood.” I would say that this goes for blessing as well.
Blessing forces me to see my children not as objects but as subjects. It forces me to recognize their personhood. During the day when have I sinned against my children, I must apologize to them before I can bless them. I must acknowledge that I acted out of line. I have to acknowledge that the sacred space between us has been violated. I have to acknowledge it and restore it before I bless them. And, then, we are able to share that sacred space again in a blessing.
Even if you are not spiritual or religious, it might be a good idea to bless your children. Tell them that they matter each night, not only to you, but to the divine, and the universe.