This past weekend was my son’s prom. He took one of his best friends, who he loves very much, for picture taking and the dinner before the dance. After dinner, he took her home. They planned it that way ahead of time. She wasn’t up to going to the main event or the after parties. She’d just gotten out of the hospital days before. She spends a lot of time there and neither she, nor anyone else knows if her health will stabilize. Given what they know, she’s not counting on it.
The two of them have all kinds of plans…perhaps a trip to Italy after graduation if she’s able to handle that kind of travel and maybe a road trip closer to home if she’s not. They plan for the future without knowing if they’ll actually be able to do the things they’ve set their sights on.
Realistically, none of us knows if we’ll be here to carry out our future plans. That’s one of the reasons I like to create little celebrations all along the way. Why wait for an “officially sanctioned” holiday or a long off trip?
Life presents enough worry, trouble and downright misery to go around. Therefore, I make it my business to try and counteract that with some distraction and levity as we go. Which explains why Sunday was reserved for a birthday party…for my dogs.
Yes, a dog party is silly but so what? It involves spending happy time with my family. The point is that we’re together, having fun. I laugh when I think about the kids, much later in life, sitting together, thumbing through photo albums saying “You remember when mom was so crazy and made us get special, low sugar ice cream for the dogs and we had to run all over the place to find it?” It’s one of the little dots of glue that will hold us together even when we’re separated.
You can make a celebration out of anything…the first tulip sighting of spring, the equinox, your unbirthday (there are 364 of them a year to pick from), a PR for squats, your daughter’s first lost tooth (or her 15th), your last cancer treatment, your ascent of a 14er, finally getting the attic straightened up, going 10 years without a traffic ticket or 6…or 2. It’s not so much what you’re celebrating, it’s that you’re acknowledging and appreciating a little slice of goodness with the other people in your life. It provides the balance we all need to stay steady and keep going especially when things aren’t so great.
You don’t have to sit passively and wait for what life hands you. Happy times (at least not as many as you want) might not simply fall into your lap. You already know there are going to be hard, challenging, painful times. When and where you can, use your creativity to enjoy and celebrate even the smallest of things.