This morning I woke up to see a pink and white stuffed dog inches from my face. “Guess what, Mommy?” my five-year-old asked in that all-too-chipper voice all children have in the morning.
“What?” I mumbled, rolling over under the covers.
It’s Rosie birthday today!”
It’s always somebody’s birthday in our house. Rosie celebrates at least once a week, then there’s Monkey, Elephanty, Meowsy, and twin rabbits Dash and Jumper. Ellie decorates her room and designs a pile of handmade birthday cards. She loves to help me wrap her toys as presents for the birthday girl or boy, then gleefully unwrap them while the rest of her stuffed animals sit in a circle to watch. Some days she even convinces me to make cupcakes.
If there’s one thing kids know how to do well, it’s celebrate! Even at eight years old, Topher knows that when he scores a goal in a hockey game, he needs to have a special celebration. He yells and raises his hands, then skates to the bench to fist bump the rest of his team. Sometimes the kids on the ice get so carried away making sure they celebrate well that they completely forget what’s going on, and half of the time the other team has the puck and someone’s on a breakaway.
Ellie celebrates everything. She waltzes in to the kitchen after washing her hands, shaking her bum and singing the Dora song: “I did it! I did it! Do do do do do do do, I did it!” She gives herself the same treatment when she puts her socks or shoes on by herself, or puts the crayon back in the box instead of throwing it on the floor.
I celebrate with her, sometimes cheerfully and sometimes just going through the motions. Sometimes I sing and dance and offer her a high five, and sometimes I barely glance up from scrolling through my Instagram feed.
Does everybody lose that ability when they become an adult, or is it just me?
I don’t sing a silly song every time I zip my coat successfully – but I don’t celebrate the big things, either.
I need to celebrate more! I want to celebrate the small victories and the big ones, for myself and the people around me. I want to be more like Ellie, who sees every small step in the right direction as worthy of applause.
Today I’m celebrating the fact that I made time to write. After more than a year of making excuses and putting it off, I finally did it.
“Do do do do do do do …I did it!”