Tuesday, March 5, 2013
A Reason to Celebrate
I've been walking this powerful faith journey lately and have been reminded time and time again that so much of what happens in this life is out of our control. But as I continue to wrestle with my own desires to write the blueprint of my life, I'm also learning that when I let myself accept this fact, there's power in my vulnerability and excitement to be found in the unpredictable. I'm allowing myself to open up to new possibilities and clench the power of the present with all I've got while my next adventure awaits. I'm learning that it's all about attitude, and that although we can't change various circumstances in our lives, we can control how we respond to them.
One of the many lessons I've learned about parenting is that so much exists outside of ourselves. Parenting requires a significant amount of selflessness --- when you're sick, you can no longer lay on the couch, watch your favorite reruns, and ignore the outside world until you're better; when there's nothing in the fridge, you can no longer forgo a meal or order Chinese takeout; and when you're sad, or stressed, or distracted, you can no longer dwell and wait for life to turn around on its own. In so many ways, parenting makes us better people because it forces us to look beyond ourselves and cultivate happy for the little people we are blessed to raise, even when it's hard to do. You put away the cell phone and force yourself to focus on nothing but building the best block tower of your life, forgo another routine night at home for a family date night, or add an extraordinary spark to an otherwise ordinary day by celebrating things we love.
This weekend, after what has seemed like a month of comfortable routine and endless winter days inside, I decided that it was time for a celebration. I get things in my head like this every so often, and have learned that a part of me comes alive when I have something to create. I've also learned that I put a lot of stock in my role as the torch-bearer of tradition and memories around here, and that although the simple and spontaneous moments of our family makeup are some of the most special, sometimes it's fun to go all out. Years from now, I want my family to look back on these days and remember stories of celebrating --- of images of the kitchen table covered in kraft paper and paint, of dance parties in the living room to Jay-Z and Mumford, and of blowing out candles stuck in pancakes and singing 'Happy Birthday' to one of our favorite literary giants.
We kicked off our weekend with a family date night to the silver screen. Last fall, we discovered that Cruz is a big fan of the movie theater, and have kept our eyes open for a good, family-friendly movie to hit the screen since Wreck-It Ralph last November. We chose Escape from Planet Earth, and although our review would be less enthusiastic than Ralph, the chance to watch Cruz in a movie theater for two hours was enough to satisfy his parents for days on end. We went to the 5:30 show, and were one of four families in the movie, let alone the entire theater. We got Cruz a booster seat this time, and he sat like a little king in his chair with his popcorn, completely enthralled with the experience. Last time, other than a few outbursts of excitement, he was generally speechless; however, this time, he chose to share his enthusiasm with outbursts of a-mile-a-minute chatter and finger pointing. After the movie, we let Cruz stay up a little past his bedtime, and shared some fish tacos and cheese quesadillas at Pablos. It was easy, Cruz was happy, and ended up being the perfect way to spend our Friday night.
And then there was Saturday --- one of my favorite days. We were celebrating one of our very favorite children's authors, the king of simple, silly rhymes and the master of universal themes --- Dr. Theodor Geisel, otherwise referred to as Dr. Seuss.
We've loved Dr. Seuss around here for a long time. Green Eggs and Ham was one of Cruz's first favorites, and I have sweet memories of my husband's voice, retelling the story to a tiny baby who studied the pictures so intently. I get tears in my eyes during the last song, 'Let It Grow,' from Cruz's most recent favorite movie, The Lorax, and say a prayer for Grandma J every time Beau gets Yertle the Turtle off the shelf with hopes to instill the same memories he has of his grandma in his son. I believe there's power in the words of Dr. Seuss, and with a whole day devoted to him and reading across America, I decided we better follow suit and create a day to honor him in our home.
We ate crazy 'Whoville' inspired food, wore funky hats, sang the Happy Birthday song, and read lots and lots of books. We did some crafts, made some snacks, and familiarized ourselves with the powerful messages found in Horton and Yertle, the Cat in the Hat and the Lorax, and of course, that Sam-I-Am.
We even tried green eggs and ham.
Part II to come!