True Confession. I am an old fuddy duddy. We don’t do a lot of celebrating in our family. I have a few ideas how we got to that point, but I’m at the point where I don’t look forward to birthdays. When family asked why, I told them that the reason is that I reflect on all that I’ve accomplished in life and realize how far it is from what I’ve planned to have accomplished. My sibings have taken me to the woodshed for this comment, as has my wife. As I thought more about it, I realized that another reasons birthdays are not high on my list is that there’s not a lot special because we don’t really do anything special on birthdays. We go out to eat. We go out to eat at other times, so that isn’t a big deal anymore. It’s anti-climactic and disappointing.
I’m one of those people that thought graduating from Kindergarten was no big deal. I’d roll my eyes when people talked about their child graduating from Kinder. Big deal, right? Today, I attended the Kinder graduation of a student I mentor. I have seen the light. This celebration opened my eyes because I saw how excited the kids were as they talked about getting ready for first grade. They were excited about what they’d accomplished and were excited about going to first grade. When you think about where kids start in Kinder and how much they grow and learn in the first year of school, it’s an amazing accomplishment! I realized then that we need to do more celebrating of education rather than less. Based on our school set up, we ought to celebrate PK, K, 5, 8, and 12th grade gaduations. Each of them is an important milestone and passage. Maybe if we celebrated those more, we’d see more kids staying excited about their education.
As I’m writing this, another celebration is in planning: my 40th anniversary and my wife’s doctoral graduation. I’ll be posting this after the celebration because, as far as I know, this is going to be a surprise for my wife. What’s even more interesting is that, being used to people not showing up to parties or things like that when we tried to hold them in the past, people are wanting to show up and seem to be excited about this celebration. We won’t have a lot of entertainment. My son in law and daughter will be helping to do a few fun things. We’ll have food – although I’ll tell that story later. The most important thing for us is being with friends. We’re looking forward to a good time. At least I am. I hope my wife will enjoy this. I hope she’ll stay with me for another year after this.
UPDATE: I thought it only fair to tell you that I lied to and deceived my wife. She thought she was going to one of my former student’s graduation parties. I panicked when I saw that we were parking next to a familiar truck. She didn’t notice. I heard someone say “they’re coming” as we walked past the windows. We opened the door and Lucy was fully, totally, and completely surprised! We had a lot of fun as we shared anecdotes from other weddings, talked about favorite teachers, and offered advice for newlyweds – or relayed advice we found helpful. Most interesting wedding story: the lady whose hair caught on fire! The usher noticed it so quickly, and put it out so fast that even she didn’t know it had happened. (Back in a ‘big hair’ era.) I don’t know if it was the best advice, but the most interesting advice came from a 12 year old girl: “Stay single.”
As to the food story, my daughter almost used this same place to cater her wedding. We had friends who were vegetarians, though, and she thought that a taco bar might be a bit better since you could do a lot with a vegetarian taco. She told me this would be a good place for a party to celebrate her mom’s doctorate. So, we ended up at the Bottomless Pit BBQ place. The food was good an it was a good place to be.