Last week my daughter’s daycare informed me that they were going to be having a party for her on Friday since she had completed her “potty training.” I thought it was so cute and wondered if they did this for every kid in their care. Of course, her father and I were super proud of her for this accomplishment, and according to her daycare providers this all happened very quickly and they were surprised at her ability to learn potty training in such a short amount of time. I thought back to the first day they told me she used the potty. I was so happy I left work early, picked her up, and took her for ice cream. Sure, maybe I was overdoing it, but I thought how special it was for her to be progressing at the rate she is, and I wanted her to know that even the little things are worth shouting yourself out for. Now, here we were facing the final stage of potty training and they were going to throw her a party.
When we picked her up on Friday and she had a gift bag, a to-go plate, a book, and a certificate of completion. I was shocked at first because I thought they were just going to have a small little “circle time” celebration for her when in fact, they had an actual cake, cookies, and lunch party for her. She was beaming when she walked out of daycare over to the car that I could not help but get a little teary-eyed thinking about how much fun she had at her party celebrating her new success. She got into the car talking a mile a minute about how everyone clapped for her, and they made cupcakes and “hot bites” while singing to her. She was still smiling and filling us in on everything. This was the moment that I understood how my mom was always so happy for me and shared every single success of mine. It was all of these small little moments that were made into a big production that taught me it is ok to celebrate whatever you choose to in your own life.
As with every “Ava situation,” it forces me to think about my own life, work, and circle of friends, and how we are living in the manner that we emphasize our children to be doing. I try and share successes with friends and family and encourage them to celebrate their progress too. We have become so focused on the big picture and the end result that we often find that we spend a heck of a lot less time celebrating and more time demeaning ourselves for not reaching a goal or a milestone. Imagine if we did not celebrate Ava’s accomplishment because we felt it took her too long? Imagine not celebrating because we just knew she would regress at some point? It makes me shudder to even think about not seeing that beautiful smile on her face when recognizing how proud we are of her and hopefully allowing her to recognize that she should be just as proud of herself.
There will come a time in everyone’s life where they are going to be faced with celebrating something on their own, and that is ok. If you know that it is allowed and often encouraged to engage in this behavior you should have no trouble doing this. It is when our celebrations are stunted or dismissed that we begin to resonate with those feelings of “this isn’t worth celebrating.” Next time you accomplish something I want you to celebrate it. No one can tell you what is or is not worth celebrating in YOUR life. I rewarded myself with two donuts the other day because even after sleeping terribly I still got up, pushed play, and got a workout in while 8 months pregnant. HUGE win for me, so I celebrated. Stop waiting for the big thing to happen to throw yourself a party with a certificate. I am making it my business to start creating blank certificates for myself and my family and filling them out when one of us does something that we deem is worth celebrating. I am challenging you to do the same. Human behavior is learned, and it is time we start re-learning how to be our own cheerleaders in times it feels no one is cheering us on. We need to throw our own parties and invite who we choose rather than waiting for someone to plan the big event for us. You are responsible for how you feel, no one else can create feelings for you. Show up for yourself in every area that you deserve it, and when feel insignificant, throw yourself a damn party for NOT GIVING UP complete with a certificate and selfie to mark the occasion. Stop giving other people the power to decide what events in your life are significant and start celebrating you!
What is the last thing you celebrated?