Thursday, August 18, 2011

Celebrate! Time for Family and Friends

Today is another celebration day at our house!  My youngest son, Randy, turns 11 today.  My how time flies!  Not only does he pick his cake but he gets his choice of dinner as well!  It is a family tradition!  And of course, there are presents but the big event is the celebration, not the gifts!

When I stop and reflect, I am always amazed at the changes I see in my children.  Subtle changes perhaps, but there always seems to be glimpses of who they will become and who they might turn out to be.  With Randy in particular because of Asperger's even the subtle changes are huge victories!  A "normal" kid with "quirks" learning how to successfully cope with a world that doesn't think like he does and doesn't deal well with someone who isn't like everyone else-let me tell ya, those are hard won victories!  Any challenge that my children overcome is worthy of celebration because it is the small victories that keep us going and keep us sane!

I've been reminded of this as I have spent time reminiscing with former and current residents of my hometown of Waterbury.  It's not about things that we bought.  It's about places we went and times spent together.  And it is about celebrating the people who made these events possible.  Everyone is sharing their stories, their memories and even some photos for a wonderful trip down memory lane!  It's about swimming at the old swimming hole or roller skating in the school gym.  It's about the police chief who would take a young teen home instead of hauling them off to jail.  It's about the fact that if you did something, good or bad,  your parents knew about it before you got home because everyone knew their neighbors and they kept an eye out for each other.  This was and still is a community that cared about each other and cared for each other.  The stories that are told about places we used to go and events we used to attend reflect this subtle understanding of just how special this community has been in our lives.  They are connections worth celebrating!

Proverbs has a couple of wonderful gems on the importance of family and friends.  Chapter 17 in The message paraphrase says this:

"Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble"
Here's another one from Chapter 18:

"Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family."
 Our society tells us that we should obsess over what we do not have.  We should, by default, always strive for more instead of celebrating what we already have in front of us.  I would like to suggest that instead of striving for "things" how about striving for something that in the long run really matters?  How about striving to connect more with family and friends?  We all long for that sense of community and that sense of belonging!  Why not celebrate those connections with those we love the most-our family and friends!  And who says that it has to be a carefully planned elaborate affair?  Some of the best get-togethers happen when someone just stops by to say hello!  These are your friends and your family-they know what you look like without makeup and they know what your house looks like with a sink full of dishes!  These are people who have shared your joys and your sorrows.  They have been a part of your fun times and they have been in on the scrapes and bumps along the way.  Through thick or thin they have been there!  What you have doesn't matter to them.  What matters to them is you!  Give yourself permission to just enjoy being with them!

Share a cup of coffee or cup of tea!  Share a donut and a good joke.  Get a group together to go to a picnic in the park or Chicken Pie Supper at the local church.  Fire up the grill or roast marshmallows around the fire pit.  Take time to celebrate the simple ordinary things with those that matter most-your family and friends!  These are the moments that memories are made from.  The moments that count are the moments that you share with those who truly care! 

Make time to celebrate!

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