Monday, September 28, 2015

Celebrate Lavishly

One way MOPS encourages us to "Fiercely Flourish" is to Celebrate Lavishly. This is one way we lavishly celebrate life in our home:
Dad on his 50th birthday, 1997

“It’s three layer cake day!” my son happily announced as he sat down for breakfast.

Indeed it was. It was May 16. Every year on that day we have German chocolate cake and celebrate a man my children have never met.

In our house, birthday celebrations are a big deal. In fact, if we’re not celebrating something, we’re usually counting down to our next celebration. We’ve counted months, days, and hours until our next birthday. Each birthday celebrant gets to pick out the dinner and cake, which I’m glad to make. Sometimes they’re creative. Sometimes they’re TV dinners. Sometimes we’ll have odd combinations like steak and pancakes and eggs. And for dessert, I’ve made chocolate cake, cheesecake, strawberry upside down cake and cake pops.

As my kids started talking, they wanted to know everyone’s birthday. They love hearing stories about how my husband and I celebrated birthdays past. They asked about aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. It was in the midst of all these questions that we decided that we should celebrate one more birthday in our house: May 16th. That was my dad’s birthday.

My dad died in 2001, five years before my oldest child was born. Once we decided to celebrate, I  knew right away the cake I would make.  My dad had German chocolate cake every year for his birthday.  A few conversations with my mom and siblings confirmed that we all could narrow down his favorite meals to two: biscuits and gravy or pork chops.

So now, every year on May 16th, we have one of those meals, sing Happy Birthday, blow out the candles, eat German chocolate cake, and talk about Grandpa Hasty.  We talk about what he liked, the traits my kids have that remind me of him, and what he would have loved to do with each of them.  We look at pictures of him.  We laugh and sometimes cry.  
Celebrating Grandpa Hasty's 68th Birthday this year.

It isn’t always easy to celebrate. It brings up memories and emotions that are both wonderful and hard.  I’m sad for all the things he is missing. I’m sad because I miss him.

This year, after blowing out the candles on his cake, my oldest looked at me and said “Mom, is it possible to miss someone you’ve never met?”

I looked up, through the tears forming, and said “Yes, sweetheart, It is.”

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