Right about this time of year I start thinking about things like Crazy Cereal Week (the sole week out of the entire year when my trendsetter parents lifted their organic-only food guidelines and let me and my sister have free reign in the conventional grocery store’s cereal aisle. Two guesses on my go-to choice and don’t be dumb about this.) and First Day Of School Pancake House Breakfasts (a Traurig institution; always mildly chaotic; always including a small gift for me and my sister meant to be used during our new school year; always including blueberry pancakes if you were me and pecan waffles if you were my mom and who can remember what the other two were eating).
But truthfully, every time of year conjures up a similar memory because one of my mom’s special gifts is embracing any and all opportunities to celebrate.
On Fat Tuesday she insisted we stop at the bakery to pick up enough pączki for my entire class; she always decorated the house for various holidays or seasons; and birthdays, I mean, no one can do a birthday like my mom used to.
Being specially gifted in the joy-inducing department, though, my mom didn’t relegate the festivities merely to official holidays. She could take any ordinary day and made it special.
I can barely remember a packed lunch that came sans hand-written love note. When she drove carpool there were always stops at the bagel place. She was so excited about my getting braces that she had me convinced it was a huge excitement and not what it actually was–a tragic setback for my appearance. After the glue had been applied and the brackets or whatever they’re called set, the wire threaded through, then there was frozen yogurt with my mom, and a trip to some luxury loungewear store where a pair of dessert-emblazoned pajama pants were purchased in honor of The Great Day of Braces (which I was still wearing in my freshman dorm, by the way, and now, completely ripped to shreds, are one of the very few material possessions that I haven’t been able to let go of despite any appeals to reason).
My mom knows that there is magic in the everyday, or that in every day there are infinite opportunities for you to create magic, celebration, and spontaneous injections of joy.
It’s one of the most precious lessons she’s imparted to me over the years.
You can take the lesson too. You can remember that every day is as special or exciting as you decide it will be– or, as ordinary, stagnant, and struggle-filled.
You can enhance your life and the lives of the people you love by seeking out small ways to constantly surprise and delight, to partake rather than opt-out, to embrace rather than soak in cynicism.
Start a new tradition today.
Give it a name.
Make a real thing of it.
Transform that menial task, that every day occurrence into something special, into a moment worth remembering through your power to invoke joy and humor.
Be the person who goes out of their way. Who sends unexpected notes of affection. Who stops to pick up coffee for the whole crew on the way in.
Be the one who knows the boundless magic of celebration, and who spreads it with her wherever she goes.