Tag Archives: celebrate

Celebrating the Little Things

Standard

I’m beginning to feel human again.  Monday I had an hour to myself to do laundry and watch an episode of Scandal.  It’s amazing what an hour of Scandal can do for you.  OK, so maybe it’s not Scandal, per se, maybe it’s just the mind-numbing joy of vegging out and not having to worry about chasing a toddler out of the fridge where he’s taken to sitting on the ledge and attempting to eat sticks of butter while you try to manage a 2 minute shower.  So, today I’m celebrating that yesterday I got to watch some TV.  It seems small and petty perhaps.  But this momma needed it.  I’m also celebrating lots of other little things.

Like the fact that Little Man is now able to focus about 50% of his meal times on his food.  (This is up from about 15%.  This kid can turn eating a hot dog and banana into an hour and a half long affair.  I am not exagurating!)  I don’t have a high chair or booster seat with straps yet, so there’s nothing holding him into the chair, so he is quite free to hop down, find toys, wander about the apartment, bring books to the table, bring toys to the table, etc.  So meal time includes a lot of redirection.  But the whole concept of meal time is a pretty new one to my Little Man.  Consider that prior to being put in care, a plate of food was sat on the floor for him and left out all day and that was how he ate.  The whole idea of being at a table and eating at specific meal times is completely novel.  So, a 50% focus rate is a victory in my book.

I’m also celebrating that even though he’d only been in my care 4 1/2 days, when I took him to his school where he has speech therapy, his therapist said she can already see a huge improvement in his verbalization since he’s been with me.  And that all of his speech delays are based in emotional issues, not a physical problem.  That means, that despite having his world rocked again, Little Man is feeling safe and loved with me–at least enough to open up and begin speaking more than he has in over a year.  Forget little celebrations, that one feels pretty stinkin’ amazing to me!

I’m celebrating the little personal victories–like figuring out how to carry three bags of trash, a laptop bag, a diaper bag, a school bag, and a purse in one hand, while holding a toddlers hand as we walk across the parking lot.  And successfully carrying three loads of laundry upstairs while keeping Little Man by my side.  And the super-human feat of retraining my body to wake up a good two hours earlier than I am used to, without wanting to kill anyone, in a matter of five days.

I’m celebrating our first play date, where Little Man had lots of fun and made new friends.  He even found this adorable little girl who was about 7 years old, grabbed her hand, and led her all over the play area for a good 30 minutes.  And I learned why it is mommy’s love play dates so much.  (It has nothing to do with the kids!)

And I’m celebrating amazing friends who have given so much love and support to both Little Man and me.  People who have called, texted, invited me to play dates, and thrown showers.  People who have bought toys that are making him smile and laugh, books that he loves to read, things to keep him safe and organized and clean and dry!  I couldn’t do this without you guys!

So thanks for celebrating with me.  I figured I should let you in on a taste of the all the good, so here’s a pic of our first playdate!  He’s sitting with “Elmo.”  (Apparently every Sesame Street character is Elmo.)

IMG_3424

 

And here he is trying to decide which book to read next.  He ultimately chooses my small group study book–he absolutely loves that thing!  He doesn’t mind at all that it’s 300 pages long and has no pictures.

IMG_3389

A Toast to Haggis, Bagpipes, and Burns Suppers

Standard

A couple of years ago I discovered a fascinating tradition known as a Burns Supper.  A Burns Supper is an extravagant dinner party to celebrate the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns, who is perhaps best known for penning the lyrics to the song “Auld Lang Syne.”   And so once a year, around the world (but especially in Scotland) there is celebrating, singing, toasting and poetry reading in honor of the late, great Burns. According to the source of all good and true knowledge—Wikipedia, “[Burns’ Suppers] may be formal or informal but they should always be entertaining. The only items which the informal suppers have in common are haggis, Scotch whisky and perhaps a poem or ten.”

Each supper follows an elaborate ritual which was started at the end of the 18th century, on the first anniversary of Burns’ death. The meal starts out with a welcome speech and then an old Scottish prayer (or “grace”), which so beautifully goes:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

(Yeah, that there fancy language is what them Scotts call the Lallans Lowland Scotts Language.)

After the first course is served, then comes a procession to honor the main course—haggis, of course. Bagpipes are played, people stand and then the haggis is honored with the beloved poem—“Address to a Haggis” which so beautifully starts out:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!

The guests eat their haggis, tatties and neeps (that’s potatoes and turnips to us non-Scottish folk) and then the toasts begin. There’s a toast to the monarch, a toast to Burns, a toast to the toaster, a toast to the “lassies” and a toast to the “laddies.” And then there’s the poetry.

The evening ends up with the guests laughing, teasing, sometimes even dancing at the memory of the great Burns. And all that got me thinking, when I leave this world, I think that’s how I’d like my friends to remember me. Minus the haggis, perhaps.  Because other than that “great chieftain o’ the pudding-race” thing, I think Burns and his friends got a pretty good thing going.

I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time counseling kids who have lost a loved one. And I’ve been in their shoes—I was eleven when my father died.  So I know how lost you can feel when someone disappears out of your life like that. It’s like there’s constantly an empty seat at the table that you’re waiting to be filled. And despite all that waiting, it stays empty. Worse yet, you don’t even talk about it. Forget white elephants in the room, we’ve got empty chairs here. And I’m not talking about nice, average-sized, wooden, dining room chairs. We’re talking those hunormous (yes, that’s right, I just used a completely made-up word back there), big-enough for Big Foot size rocking chairs you see at furniture factories in the Great Smokies.

And with all that empty chair space filling up your living room, there’s an awful lot of stuff to not talk about. So maybe those crazy haggis-loving Scotts aren’t so crazy after all. Maybe it’s time for us all to dust off those empty chairs and fill them with some par-tay. Maybe it’s really not that crazy to celebrate all those things we love and miss—whether it’s the greatness of their poetry or the wackiness of their taste in food. Perhaps that’s how we keep our heads above water when that giant chair threatens to take over. We set aside the days and the times, we get together with our friends who share this empty chair, and we laugh and cry, we eat and we share stories, and we remember. Because just maybe, that’s the only way to deal with hunormous, Big Foot size chairs. We remember.

So, here’s a toast to Robert Burns and to his haggis-loving, bagpipe-playing, Burns-Supper-attending friends. And here’s a toast to you. May you celebrate the lives who have left Big-Foot chairs in your life, and may that celebration light your path to a more complete story.

(This was originally published in 2008 on another blog.)