2/20 How do you celebrate? Other people and yourself?
There are certain traits, traditions and buzz words I feel like my parents ingrained in me so deeply that I cannot help but think of them when face-to-face with one. Celebration is an essential Trayser quality. I can remember my dad coming home from work with a new vehicle almost every week. Even as we grew up, Willow Creek had an incredible car ministry that supported those in need in the surrounding area. My dad would be charged with test-driving these cars home to make sure they were ready to give away to a family. Sometimes he drove church vehicles home too. One hot and sticky summer day, Dad drove the small church bus home. While the bus was still running, he honked the horn a few times. My siblings and I sprinted out the door and down the driveway with wide-eyes. A bus in front of our house? How cool is that to a kid?
My dad motioned for us to get in and we jumped from seat to seat giddy and enthralled. He smiled a big smile, told us to sit down and then began to drive away. "Okay, now... who should we pick up?" Soon we were making loud, obnoxious bus-stops at every one of our friends' houses. Back then, we couldn't text anyone to see if they were free. So instead we rounded the neighborhood and took turns honking the horn at the foot of their driveways. Our friends came out from their homes excited and confused. But laughing. Always laughing. Once we filled the bus my dad made a turn straight for the Dairy Queen drive-thru. The only thing better than ice cream when you're a kid is ice cream with your friends in the back of church bus.
I don't remember what day of the week it was. I don't remember which friends were home and which ones weren't. I don't remember what kind of ice cream I had. But I remember the magical feeling of celebrating on a normal day. With our favorite people. Just because.
My parents were and are great at celebrating. They celebrated good grades, good games, and sometimes even a good joke. They were light-hearted enough to stop at a moment's notice and say... This thing right here? This is a good thing. Let's celebrate.
A couple weeks ago I walked out after feeding the little one to find Austin and Ry sitting in two chairs in the garage, watching the sky turn from light blue to tangerine to lilac. They shelled pistachios, threw the shells out to the driveway and just laughed together.
"Mama! Join us! We having pishTASHoo parteee!"
Who can say no to that?
So, in the spirit of everyday parties, we scooped up our girls, sang songs to Ry as she kicked her feet in the backseat, and made our way down the 101 to get ice cream for dinner. Ry looked up from her frozen yogurt every couple seconds with the biggest, most quizzical smile on her face.
We don't have ice cream for dinner often. Twice ever, maybe. But on a very random Monday, after a pistachio party, we thought- let's celebrate. Let's celebrate the crazy colors of the sky, the fact that we're a family of four now, and the little, full-of-wonder toddler who is beginning to build her memory bank.
I celebrate people with notes, with hugs and with Amazon Prime. Those are my go-to's. But there was something magical about going around, at the very moment the church bus came home to pick up our friends. In a day of email and over-scheduling, I have found the spontaneity of my celebrating to be almost non-existent. For whatever reason, the memories fixed in the most treasured parts of my heart are those unexpected moments that had a why-not attached to them.
So this year, I want to take a couple spontaneous car rides to celebrate a friend with flowers. Just because. I want to make an outlandish meal for Austin on a regular Tuesday. Just because. I want to let Ry lick the batter spoon because... why not?
Unless your name is Bob Goff, I am semi-convinced you can't live this way all the time, but the times that call for it are going to be grabbed, treasured, and remembered this year.
What about you? How do you celebrate others? How could you celebrate better this year? Share in a comment or with your people today.