Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On sweatpants and champagne: Learning to celebrate without the caveats

As January 1 rolled around I saw a bunch of people announcing their "one word" for the year.  I did a little research into this movement of "My One Word"(and by little, I mean I honestly just read the "about" section on the website and got the gist, heck ya research) and I am so glad it is working for people.  I have to say that I have too many words to pick one that would fit my whole year, and I'm planning on writing more on that later, but for now I have a Januray-ish word: Celebrate.

I grew up thinking celebrations were meant to be few and far between.  They were saved for the high holy days of Christmas, Easter, summer vacation, monumental birthdays and finishing your taxes.  And even thought I'm about to talk about celebrating without caveats, I want to add this one admonition: My idea of celebrations as uncommon is not in any way a reflection on my parents and their endless celebration of their children's major and minor accomplishments, it has entirely to do with the unrealistic media-induced portrayal of celebration that I was inundated with even through the puritanical 1980s.

I thought the idea of celebrating was always grandiose.  It had to be over the top to count.  I remember on my tenth birthday, my mom got home from work and asked if I wanted to help her make my cake.  I was aghast!  Even though I loved baking with my mom, and I am sure that she had better things to do after a long day of teaching, I was so incensed at the idea of baking my own cake that I broke down in tears and "ran away."  Running away for me at that age meant going to my porch and shutting the door, I was very rebellious.  I mean, how could I celebrate by doing something I loved with someone I loved and making something we both loved and then feeling loved by those people?  (I hope my sarcasm is coming across properly.  Oh, and sorry mom, I was a jerk. I love you.)

No red carpet or surprises or fancy getup meant it wasn't a real celebration.  In turn I have lived telling people that "I don't need a big celebration" while always hoping to come home to a beautiful dress and heels and roses and my husband telling me to get ready because we are celebrating big time.  I felt that I wasn't allowed to celebrate so I didn't.  And then Soren was born and the idea of celebrating daily began stirring in my heart.  I started to feel guilty about wanting to break out the bubbly every time he did something new.  I felt things needed to be bigger for a "real celebration" to occur.  So I made things small, birthday parties, milestones, first words, first steps, the first moment I found out he would be a big brother.  I made things small because I didn't have the time, the energy, the money or the inspiration to do them up in a great big manor.

But luckily, I'm married to someone wiser than me.

This past week I got a fun surprise a little earlier than expected when my photography work was published in Seattle Bride Magazine online.  I knew this was coming, it wasn't a new thing, but I didn't know exactly what date it was.  So when my friend Danielle texted me to tell me she saw my work I about screamed while I was waiting for my sandwich order.  I was ecstatic!  I saw the feature and nearly cried from smiling so much.  I was so happy!  I told family, I put it on Facebook and I wanted to go galavanting about.  But then my sandwich order came and I had to head home and still be a mom.  I quickly couched my excitement because as much as I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, the truth was, Seattle Bride isn't as big as it comes when it comes to being published.  This was not Style Me Pretty, this was not in print, this was not exclusive, it just was there.

I got home, I got a hug from my husband and a hungry baby to feed.  I got spit up on and hit in the eye by a toddler's steam engine.  I told myself to stop being so excited because it wasn't big enough yet, not grand enough.  But as the night died down and my husband suggested we celebrate he put the nice bottle of champagne in the fridge.  The nice one, the one that was a gift from a friend and cost much more than the $5.99 Trader Joe's brand that I like.  And after bath time and book time and bed time had passed.  After our littlest finally fell asleep late into the night, he opened up the bottle and toasted with me.

We toasted in sweatpants and REI socks.  We toasted in the midst of yesterday's dishes and tomorrow's laundry.  I tried to take an artsy picture on my phone to document the occasion, trying to make the reason for the nice bottle look better than me but the photo is in bad lighting on a dirty kitchen counter and no filter could save it.

But, my oh so kind husband lifted my chin and kissed me and said "Here is to the first of many."

I wanted to feel guilty for celebrating because it wasn't the best or the tip top.  But I didn't, I sat in my sweatpants and in the arms of my husband, watching the Food Network and drinking really good champagne to celebrate this one accomplishment.  Not to say, we will drink better bubbly when I get bigger recognition.  Not to say, I suppose we should do this as an obligation to commemorate something.  We celebrated.

I am choosing to celebrate.  I am choosing joy in the midst of bad lighting and stained nursing tank tops.  I am entering His courts with praise because I am His and He is mine.  I will not say that just because I can do better, this good is not good enough.  I will celebrate when Soren gets "LMNOP" in the correct order.  I will celebrate when he tries.  I will be joyful that Jude has already learned to roll from his back to his belly and I will cheer when he begins to crawl even though it terrifies me.  I will celebrate the fact my husband has a good job that he is good at.  I will celebrate the day I shoot enough weddings to buy a case of $5.99 champagne and we will toast without caveats.  We will not compare our joy to someone else's because comparison is the thief of joy and celebration.  I will bake a cake with my mom the next time I see her and hug her for loving me through my caveats.

I hope you can celebrate too.  The little things which are often big things.  I hope the enemy doesn't make your accomplishments small and I hope you have people around you to toast with.  I hope your sweatpants don't keep you from galavanting about.  But do be careful while galavanting with champagne, especially if their are legos on the floor.