Woo Hoo!! – Showing Love Through Celebration

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Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends ever! And over the weekend we helped to celebrate Cisco’s birthday. All of this birthday celebrating has got me thinking about the importance and significance of celebrating the ones we love.

I remember reaching a significant crossroads for myself and my family about 18 years ago. I had been scrambling each year to not only think of things for Christmas for my parents, my husband’s parents, my brothers, his brothers and sister, but also any kids they had as well as our own children, not to mention our kids’ friends and our friends… This did not even include any get together planning, or cooking, etc that gatherings may include. There is also the financial and budgeting element…

It got pretty hectic and stressful. I really see why it is such a mixed time of year for so many people. So, after doing it for several years, and having just grown and grown, as we had two kids now instead of one, our relatives all had more kids and spouses, etc, I reached my limit. Right when I was at my wit’s end, a kid’s book jumped out at me at the library entitled, “I’m In Charge Of Celebrations”, by Byrd Baylor (check it out here). It really shifted my thinking. It occurred to me that I Am the One in charge of My Celebrations!!! Other people or organizations can suggest, vibe or pressure me to celebrate certain things or dates in certain ways, but it really is entirely up to me (and my husband at the time) what we are going to actually celebrate and how.

At that time I did a major overhaul on what and how we celebrated. I started to look at all the things celebrated in our country much more critically and to question a lot of it because it became quite obvious from that point of view that most (or all) of it is done for commercial reasons. Making this change, made what we celebrated more intimate and special to me. I made more of the gifts I gave, I tried to think of things that would serve or nurture the person’s health or well-being; I put more focus on time spent together rather than “stuff” and I started to integrate in more rituals.

It did get a little tricky at times both trying to figure out what changes to make and how to integrate them, and not everyone in the family jumped on board right away (maybe they still haven’t), but I stayed dedicated to my new perspective and I found it much more enjoyable and fulfilling for me.

The only thing I would suggest in addition to this is that I would still make sure and include plenty of reasons to celebrate!!

Celebrations bring things to look forward to. They can bring reasons for enjoyment and happiness. They can include more FUN in your life as well as bonding within couples, families, extended families, friends and larger groups of connection (like social groups or spiritual/religious groups, etc).

They can also help all of us exercise our appreciation muscles which is always a really great thing. They do this by providing an opportunity to focus on someone or more than one person (in the case of weddings, anniversaries, births, deaths – yes deaths – we had the most beautiful celebration of my dad’s life after his passing that I have ever experienced, IT WAS AWESOME!!)

Basically, mamis, life is what you make it, and you can fill it with things to celebrate and get excited about or you can focus on the crap, the tough stuff, the hard times…  Sure that stuff exists, but it doesn’t serve you or anyone else in your life to let it be bigger than you are. And, if you can model that successfully to your kids, they will be stronger, more resilient, more enjoyable to be around and happier, among many other things.

I really recommend reading Byrd Baylor’s book and consciously deciding what and how you think you might be happiest celebrating. I encourage you to get creative, like the girl in the book did, and find reasons, large or small on any given day, to celebrate something. Plus, people love it when you celebrate them. It is just another way to communicate that you care about them.

For some pretty simple, fun and potentially inexpensive ideas to celebrate with kids, check out this article “7 Great Ideas For Kids’ Birthday Parties On A Budget“. There are some very simple ideas that are easily modifiable to your specific child’s preferences. Not just that, but it seems to me they can all be adapted for people of any age.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

Have you had a celebration makeover?  What types of celebration activities and rituals or traditions have you found nurture and strengthen your family the most?

 

We’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other, remember, we are all in this together!

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