23 May On Celebration, #4: Five Reasons

This week, from our family to yours, a list:

FIVE REASONS TO BUILD CELEBRATIONS INTO YOUR FAMILY’S ROUTINE

Because the days are long—and the weeks are REALLY long.

There are many reasons to celebrate, but the most practical and alluring one, if you’re the parent or caregiver of a suddenly non-napping toddler or preschool-aged child, is that punctuating your time with celebrations gives you something fun to do together: to plan for and to look forward to. This is how Happy Thursday was invented, long ago: by the 23-year-old nanny I once was, who—desperate to fill six hours of snowy winter afternoon—decided to see exactly how long it would take to bake, frost, and decorate a cake entirely from scratch, for no real reason at all, with two assistants, ages two and five. The answer was…about six hours. That the process of was messy, delightful, and full of opportunities to teach and learn cemented the process as a weekly ritual for the remainder of my time with that family…and brought us the Happy Thursday ritual my family celebrates today.

Because this is a beautiful day, and the future is uncertain.

Every culture and tradition in the world uses the spiritual practice of feasting as a bulwark against fear, despair, and uncertainty. To sing, dance, or eat in community with others, whether they are family or not, has a powerful effect on our relationships with each other, our ability to savor the joys of the present moment and manage our anxieties about the future, and our capacity to be grateful for what we have.

Because you deserve it (and so does your kid.)

Part of what makes life with young children so difficult for parents is that we have the misfortune of being adults. We love our kids, but the truth is that their desires, motivations, and ideas often just don’t make sense to us, and it’s easy to see (from the endless questions) that the world of adults makes even less sense to children than their world does to us. This process of understanding and of making oneself understood is hard work on both sides, which is all the more reason to blow bubbles together or toss around some confetti every now and then—you’ve earned it.

Because when you celebrate together, you know each other better.

There are weeks on end when it seems that I spend most of my time with my son setting and enforcing limits. Limits are important, but they don’t do much for morale. Setting aside regular time to celebrate accomplishments, deeds, and special moments helps us get to know and enjoy each other outside of the day-to-day power struggles that arise from the twinned jobs of growing and guiding.

Because it doesn’t take much.

When you’re 3, it can be celebration enough to get to use your special steam engine souvenir glass with dinner. Our son doesn’t need elaborate recognitions of his milestones—things that cost money or require time; he’s happy just to be with us. What this time entails has shifted and will continue to shift over time; what we hope will stay consistent is our joy in each other, no matter what form it takes.

However you celebrate, I hope you’re having a wonderful time this month. For more on how our family does it, visit the Think Sacred on Facebook for new content every day.

1Comment
  • shewrri wyman
    Posted at 00:50h, 27 May Reply

    Always very interesting Jen and thoughtful!

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