“Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge.”
There’s this little restaurant in town that I drive past several times a week. It’s nothing extravagant, just a small restaurant tucked away next to a store that sells fancy candles and a yogurt shop. And yet something about it says special occasion. It’s the kind of place you go to when an old friend you haven’t seen in years comes to town, you get a job promotion or buy a new home. It’s not the kind of place that you just pop into on a random Saturday night just because. It’s one of those places that deserves a reason for celebration.
Without really acknowledging it, for the past year or so, I’ve told myself that this restaurant would be the place that I would go if, when there was a special occasion, a reason to celebrate (something along the lines of a published book perhaps). If…then… When…then…
Until that special occasion, that reason for celebration came, I would wait.
So I waited. I waited for something extraordinary, for a special occasion, for a reason to celebrate.
The trouble is it’s hard to find something extraordinary when life seems to be consumed with a running list of oh-so-very ordinary. Grocery shopping and laundry folding, conference calls and meetings, tantrums and fights over Legos, making meals and cleaning up after meals, reading a few stories and tuck-ins, emails and phone calls to return, and, if we’re lucky, a few minutes to read a book or watch the “Daily Show” before finally collapsing into bed at night. Ordinary, everyday stuff.
And it’s hard to find a special occasion when the daily goings-on of life consist of orthodontist appointments and basketball games and bill paying, long commutes and edgy bosses and never-ending to-do lists. It’s hard to find a reason to celebrate when Life seems to throw at us a steady stream of fast pitch baseballs – illnesses and disgruntled clients and emails marked URGENT, flat tires and hurt feelings and babies that haven’t learned how to sleep at night quite yet.
It is hard to feel special when you’re crawling under the furniture to find a lost Blankie or sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar or being told by your boss why the project that you worked so hard on kind of sucks. And, let me tell you, it is really hard to feel special while beckoned by a tiny voice in the bathroom, calling “Mo-om, will you wipe my butt?”
I have spent so much time waiting, living in the if/then mentality that put celebration and happiness on hold until something Big and Important happened. And, as a result, I have often minimized or ignored all the Big and Important things that were already going on amongst the seemingly ordinariness of everyday life. Like a little kid intent on finding the toy at the bottom of a box of Lucky Charms, I forgot that it’s actually those tiny little marshmallows that make Lucky Charms so great.
But, honestly, all that searching and waiting for something Big and Important is just so tiring, so utterly exhausting, in a soul-crushing and heart-breaking kind of way, that I just can’t do it anymore.
A couple of weeks ago I booked a reservation at that special occasion restaurant, and on a cold and rainy Friday night, my husband and I settled into a booth at the back and we celebrated.
There was no special occasion, no extraordinary news, no reason to celebrate. No book deal, no job promotion, no milestone anniversary. And yet…we celebrated.
We celebrated the special occasion that is Friday night. We celebrated that, after 5,187 days together as a couple, we have as much fun together as on day one. We celebrated the long, lazy weekend ahead of us. We celebrated the ways that we have grown as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. We celebrated the craziness and the up-and-down-ness and sometimes monotonous special occasion that is the Everyday Life.
We celebrated our No-Special-Occasion special occasion and we created our own reason to celebrate, our own kind of extraordinary. And I gobbled up all those tiny little marshmallows of rainbows and stars and moons; I found all the Big and Important things that were there all along.
Let’s stop waiting and start celebrating. Let’s celebrate the sacred gifts of friends and family and love and resilience. Let’s celebrate overcoming pain and moving through transitions and the life-changing power of redemption. Let’s celebrate fortitude and resilience and courage. Let’s celebrate staring down fear and making difficult choices and doing hard things. Let’s celebrate the special occasion that is Everyday Life – the little things, the big things, all things. Let’s just celebrate.
Champagne and fancy restaurants are completely optional.
What do you want to celebrate?
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