I am a believer in celebrations! If you are reading this post on the day it is going live, my daughter is arriving to visit me. Megan (my daughter) and I will celebrate her graduation from college and her new job!
Celebrations, in my mind, do not need to big ones. We tend to mark milestones such as weddings with big gatherings or receptions. There is much joy when a marriage is celebrated, or a child is born or baptized, or a first new home is bought. Acknowledging those milestones with a reception, big party or an open house is wonderful.
Funerals, wakes, and memorial services may be a celebration of a person’s life and the love shared.
Life, though, holds many smaller occasions and even tiny moments to acknowledge with joy as a celebration. As a homeschooling mom, I marked certain days and seasons to change the schedule and to take a day off from our normal routines. Birthdays (both mine and Megan’s) were a reason to not homeschool, but to spend the day in other enjoyable ways.
Children naturally celebrate life and the small details of life. There was a child’s book that spoke of turning one’s day upside-down including eating breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. I was more than willing to have topsy-turvy days and change the order of meals. Those simple ideas can turn meals into joy and much fun. Valentine’s Day was made special in little ways such as adding pink dye to milk.
I would acknowledge the seasons changing by finding joyful, creative, little ways to mark those changes. In the fall, Megan and I would find leaves to bring into the house to use as a centerpiece on a table or desk. The leaves were colorful reminders of life’s vibrancy. In the winter, snow was an excuse to walk and play. Tasting snowflakes was a seasonal blessing!
Seeing life through the eyes of a child can cause us to stop and smell the roses. As an adult, I am able to enjoy moments of child-like joy. There is a hot dog stand in my town in Colorado. They advertise Chicago-style hot dogs. Well, being born and raised in Chicago led me to enjoy many Chicago hot dogs during that part of my life. I recently and purposefully bought one of these Chicago-style hot dogs from the person running the hot dog stand in Colorado. It was fun to talk with him, to sit on a bench on a beautiful day, and enjoy my simple meal. Yes, a eating a hot dog can be a mini-celebration of life!
Celebrations are an acknowledgement of life’s blessings, joy, beauty, and love. Gratitude plays a role in celebrations for me – the gratitude for the reaching of a goal, the gratitude for the seasons, the gratitude of love noticed, given and received.
In many ways, my life has been made up of small celebrations (and not as many of societal major celebrations). Once Megan was born, those smaller moments held much more meanings. After I left the domestic violence and torture relationship and became a protective parent, moments of celebration became even more important. I remember both Megan and I hoping we would be together to celebrate her 12th birthday and then her 13th birthday. Fortunately those two occasions found us together. Each birthday was celebrated with a deep appreciation knowing how precious being together on those days were for both of us. Once we were discovered in November, 2007, I have not had the opportunity to be physically present with Megan on her birthday (although I’ve been with her on a spiritual, heart level).
It is marvelous that Megan is visiting. We will celebrate her graduation and her new job. Mostly though, it is wonderful that Megan and I will be together – celebrating each other and our deep love as a mom and daughter. One of the lessons that trauma, loss, and separation have taught both Megan and I is to be aware of and to acknowledge the preciousness of our time together. It is always a gift.
Life is filled with gifts. From the ashes of PAIN, gifts are found. I look back at my life and see many, many gifts. I am grateful!
Tulips have held special meaning for me for quite a few years. In the town where I live now, there are tulips in the downtown area each spring. Viewing the tulips is always a cause to take pause… to notice, to take a deep breath, and relish the scene.
Today, look at your life. What can be celebrated? Celebrations do not have to contain extravagant, expensive or expansive methods. A moment of celebration could be an instance of pure acknowledgement of the joy and peace felt. It could be a moment of silence filled with love.
May you find joy today!