Many years ago when our children were young, I had a Come-to Jesus talk with Dan about the importance of remembering holidays and special occasions. It was Mother’s Day and I waited all day for some recognition, and some appreciation, for all I put into raising our three children. I simply couldn’t believe my family, particularly my husband, would forget to celebrate. I didn’t say anything because I kept thinking there was a huge surprise lurking in the wings ready to be revealed at just the right time.
After tucking the children into bed I asked Dan if he remembered what day it was. He did. He simply didn’t think it was a big deal.
Wrong answer. Wrong attitude.
And, in no uncertain terms I let him know how inconsiderate he had been. But the main point I wanted to make was the message he sent to our children.
Children take their cues from the most important people in their lives, their parents. I felt that by placing so little concern for a day intended to celebrate the importance of motherhood was making a statement to the children that I didn’t want conveyed.
It was hurtful to me that Dan had ignored the opportunity to tell me he appreciated all I did to create our haven of peace. But it especially hurt that he didn’t convey to our children the importance of honoring their mother.
Needless to say, Dan went to bed that night feeling properly chastised and ashamed and this neglect was never repeated. In fact, we decided to celebrate as often as possible any little victory, holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc.
Life can be pretty hectic and crazy and special occasions can get lost in the shuffle if careful attention isn’t observed. I remember early in our marriage I was dumbfounded that everyone in our circle of acquaintance and our families didn’t remember our anniversary.
Coming from a family where divorce was rampant and there was rarely ever a wedding anniversary to celebrate, I was ecstatic that I actually had one. I just figured everyone else would be too. I remember Dan telling me that our special day was very special to us and not to be hurt that others didn’t view it in the same regard.
Here’s a little tip that helps with family harmony and happiness.
Never miss an opportunity to celebrate anything.
Just for the sake of honoring one another. Mark the date on your calendar or in your schedule book or iPhone. Take time to make the date a real celebration, if nothing more than cooking that person’s favorite meal or dessert.
Simply sending a physical card can say, “I love you!” or “I care!” or “Congratulations!” in a way that shows you took time to remember.
Our oldest son, Kevin and his wife, Teri, have seven children. That’s a LOT of birthdays, special occasions, school successes, holidays, etc. So they made an agreement with their children they would do a big birthday celebration every other year.
On the off year, they do a small family dinner and gift giving. On the on year, they get a party with friends and family. The exception is special birth years like 10, 13, 16, 18.
Celebrations of life should be taken seriously in a family because it gives the opportunity to show how much you care.
Our son, Jared, has had many years of sobriety but every year, on the date of his commitment to change his life, I send him a card or note to tell him I am proud of him.
It’s important to him so it is important to me.
My birthday is three days before Christmas and as a child I never experienced birthday parties. So for most of our married life, Dan has made my birthday the highlight of my year by taking me to Chicago…my favorite big city….for several days to celebrate.
His taking the time to treat me to this experience each year speaks volumes to me about how much he cares……and it definitely makes up for forgetting Mother’s Day all those Once I worked for a short time as the manager of a big department store.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out it was not a good fit and after about ten months on the job, I quit.
On my last day at work, my family all celebrated in grand style, showing me how happy they were to have me back home.
I felt their love.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it isn’t important to celebrate even the small successes and events of your life. Those traditions and special remembrance make a huge impression on others and make large deposits in your relational bank account!
No one is ever too poor to give a gift of remembrance. Just a warm embrace and a bouquet of dandelions is sufficient if you give them with love and sincerity.
And regardless of what any woman says, she is always dazzled by a gift from the heart! Never. Forget. That!
What opportunities are you missing that could be turned into fun celebrations?
What “unusual” celebrations do you observe in your family that might spark an idea for others?
Are you overlooking the importance of celebrations that your spouse might wish you put in higher priority?
Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism, proposes a new way to choose what we celebrate. What have you been celebrating lately?
“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoing time with the most important people in our lives?” Greg McKeown, Essentialism