When you have young, school-aged children, you develop a few extra skills such as flexibility (changing plans on a dime), creativity (making up games or stories to keep things interesting for the kiddos), and adaptability (changing your own outlook to suit the needs of your children or your children’s mood). These skills are most useful especially on days when your kids are stuck inside because of inclement weather, illness, or the lack of other children being able to play outside with them. These skills are also valuable when teaching young children how to celebrate life in the everyday ordinary circumstances. One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to bake treats and decorate them, kind of like preparing for a big birthday celebration or a party.
Every weekend, my sons both know that it’s mommy’s time in the kitchen. They also both know that Saturdays are mommy’s time to make treats in the oven and to bring out their balloons and bubbles. I spend my Saturday mornings baking cookies, cupcakes, or an “unbirthday” cake for the boys, which they later enjoy watching me layer on the frosting and sprinkles. While the treats are baking, the boys know they have time to play with special party balloons or blow bubbles. To them, this is like celebrating a special occasion – treats and fun party games at home. Oddly enough, my oldest son always asks me if it’s someone’s birthday because I was making treats. When I tell him it isn’t anyone’s birthday, he wonders why, and I tell him the same answer, “We’re celebrating just because it’s another day, and every day is a gift.” I’m thankful that my son doesn’t question it now. He’s still young enough not to wonder why.
So why do I celebrate the ordinary, everyday, just because? I stated it in my answer to my son. It is another day, and every day we are given is a gift we are to celebrate. If anything, we are to use that gift wisely, and not hold onto plans for another day. It may be just another ordinary day to most, but it is only as ordinary as we choose to make it. I have read in so many posts on social media how someone delayed plans for another day, only to find that day never came. I also do not believe in saving the “good china” for a “special occasion” because to me every day is special and the occasion is simply being alive. Something is ordinary when we make it out to be so. When we celebrate, we turn the ordinary into something special, and isn’t life itself special enough to rejoice over?
Our weekends as a family in my household would be less interesting and less joyful if we didn’t celebrate our ordinary Saturdays. I also do not limit these “celebrations” to just the weekend. On particularly dry nights during the school week, I surprise my children by bringing home a special treat from work or I will swing by a bakery to pick up some of their favorite dessert pastries. My answer to their questioning look is always the same. We are celebrating just because it’s another day, and every day is a gift. There is a power in celebrating the ordinary, and that power is turning the mundane into the extraordinary; turning dryness into a wellspring of joy, or at least bringing a smile to someone’s face.
You may even be surprised to know that there is a National Just Because Day (see http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/August/justbecauseday.htm for explanation). Some may not be into doing the whole baking goodies and playing with party balloons thing like my kids, but here are a few ideas on how to celebrate any day “just because” it is an ordinary day.
- Take an unplanned day of vacation
- Visit someone you haven’t seen in a while and bring a small gift or flowers
- Compliment a random stranger in line at the store or at the doctor’s office
- Go to a park and play hopscotch, or get on the swing, or go down the slide
- Buy something you don’t need or buy something for someone who has been on your mind
- Call up a friend to come join you for some ice cream or coffee
- Bake some treats and share them with people
In my book series, The Last Prophet, we are constantly reminded by the main characters (especially the angels) that each day is a gift that is to be cherished. This is especially true in Book Four, Uriel’s Light, where the main character has developed an illness with no known cause or cure. To this main character, each day is now precious, and waiting to celebrate life and living has become a daily occasion. You get the point from the book series and from the National Just Because Day. There is no need to wait for a major holiday, someone’s birthday or your own birthday, or an anniversary (although you could make one up if that makes you feel less awkward in public). Our little time here is precious, and it should be celebrated in small and big ways. Since there are fewer “big” days to celebrate, the ordinary days (or every day) can be celebrated in special “little” ways.
How will you celebrate the ordinary today? When will you start? Comment in the space provided.
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