This past weekend at the lake, Michael and I, and a handful of our summer friends attended a”traditional hall” 25th wedding anniversary party. Besides an outstanding meal, the heartfelt speeches, and an amazing video capturing snippets of 25 years together, we danced into the night, laughed, sang, and celebrated our dear friends.
It was during the couple’s speech and expression of thanks that I became inspired. Particularly, when the groom (of 25 years) shared where the initial decision to plan the party was sparked. He recalled a year ago, when he and his wife were having a conversation as they drove home from the funeral of his grandmother. They were reflecting on family memories spoken of at the funeral, many of which were memories of constant celebrations together as children – celebrations big and small. He went on to say the conversation triggered them both to conclude that, for some reason, this generation doesn’t celebrate like our grandparents did. Hence the party to celebrate 25 years of marriage was born – to cheers amongst family and friends, at the place they love (the lake!), in a way their children could experience and create memories around celebrations just as they did.
In that moment, all of us at our table looked at each other and unanimously agreed: they’re right. We don’t celebrate all moments little and big. Why is that?
Perhaps it’s because we just let life get in our way. At some point while raising our children, we became accustomed to savouring each moment of quiet because it was rare and luxurious. We were absorbed with schedules and activities, demands of work, school commitments, volunteering and so on. Man, many of us even let our kid’s sports and activities take family and celebratory time from Christmas, Easter, spring break, and summer vacation. “There’s no time” was a common phrase to hear at social events, in the office, or on the school ground.
Maybe that’s bold to say, but think about it: why do we not take the time to celebrate the little things, the big accomplishments, and the holidays like our grandparents did? They too had busy and demanding lives – but perhaps just “busy” in other ways.
As this notion continued to percolate for me, a number of significant moments came to mind – some formally planned and others informal. This summer alone, I received news of the birth of a beautiful baby girl joining our extended family (my cousin became a Grandpa!); watched a dear friend prepare a family party to celebrate her son’s graduation from University (with traditional Italian bombonieres gracefully attached to a Stella beer for guests to take home!); watched another dear friend (after multiple challenges) experience a third surgery within 3 months, which is thankfully and successfully behind her (our sisterhood will celebrate next week at the cottage!); had a girlfriend share awesome accomplishments in preparing for the longest cycle she will have ever done this coming weekend (for a great cause); and experienced a quick text conversation with a beautiful young woman (with a special place in my heart) who is preparing for her wedding next month.
When I reflect on these moments, I can’t help but smile and feel a sense of emotion.
Without wanting to sound like a “couch psychologist” sporting rose coloured glasses: we have no excuses. We are middle aged and we have a lot to celebrate – whether big or small. I bet there is a reason we could find to toast to each day, even on those that don’t feel stellar. Every occasion is a “big one” – as my family knows me to say.
Pull together your family, a few close friends, or the entire neighbourhood. Pop a bottle of bubbly (my “young” friend Lindy – who encouraged me to take on “D by denise”- and I did that a few weeks ago!), San Pellegrino, or even KoolAid – and make a toast this weekend. I bet you will find many reasons to do so.
Why? Because every day is a gift, and because we can.
I dedicate this post to Trevor & Amanda whose words and celebration inspired me to write this week. Happy 25th beautiful couple! xo
Photos: Scotch & Coffee
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