Critics and naysayers say we celebrate our kids too much. They don't know how to lose, get a C or miss a soccer goal. I tend to see it from the other angle, perhaps because I see kids at their most raw. I see the sadness and the pain, uncertainty and anxiety.
Many kids feel inadequate, both in their homes and amongst their peers. Often they compare themselves to their siblings or to what they perceive their parents expect. One twenty year old middle son of three told me "I guess I'm considered the failure child since both of my brothers got the yadda yadda scholarship to yadda yadda college". As I gently reminded him that his college acceptance was quite an excellent feat, he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly without recognizing any personal achievement.
I feel a need to celebrate the successes. I've had the privilege of witnessing many great times of my kids, my clients and my friends' kids and these moments make my heart happy. I have one friend who, although she is four years younger than me, her kids are all a year older than mine. At each of their celebrations I have the opportunity to witness her family's joy as I stand behind the plate on deck. Bar Mitzvahs, graduations and college acceptances have been a source of pride for her, me and our collective families; personally there is just never too much joy.
Weddings, pregnancies, birthdays; they are plastered all over social media and I love it. Where some people have commented that social media, or specifically Facebook for us over forty crowd, makes them feel inadequate or jealous when people brag about their kids' achievements, I feel otherwise. I love seeing the positive, the joy and the accomplishments - all I have to do is click over to the Washington Post to get a dose of tragedy and despair.
I encourage us all to celebrate the joys; be in the moment and take it all in. We all experience health issues, disappointment and life challenges, why not let loose on the good stuff when we can?
This post was prompted by an upcoming celebration in my family. I am swelling with pride as I think about my daughter's Bat Mitzvah next week; she has worked very hard and is beyond excited for her special day. We will worship and celebrate her rite of passage as a family and a community. I think I am writing this for me as a reminder to celebrate and be filled with pride, to let go of the little details like guests flights and menus and focus on the moments that highlight the joy and celebration of my daughter.
My pride bubble is/will be bursting. I choose to celebrate the joy and be proud of my kid. Tell me more about your joys; it's contagious and so much fun to fill our air with little bubbles filled with pride and joy.