A Day of Celebration and Contemplation
Birthdays and anniversaries often bring material gifts, but they always serve as a day to be thankful for the gift of one more year.
Sunday was a big day at the Locklin house. We celebrated Fathers Day, of course. But Sunday was also Lewis’ and my 23rd anniversary.
To say we “celebrated” may be an overstatement. We exchanged cards and our son took his dad to see the new movie, Prometheus, at Cherokee 16 Cinema. Methinks this was a convenience gift, having more to do with Taylor’s interests than his dad’s. But it’s the thought that counts, right?
From our first year of marriage until now, Lewis and I have avoided extravagant celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries. Indeed, we tend to think of most secular holidays as a plot by greeting card companies to boost profits. And I simply refuse to pay $3.99 for a sappy Hallmark message.
With the exception of those years when our son was young and Santa visited, the number and nature of presents under our Christmas tree are fairly modest. Mostly clothes and household items from a “needs” rather than “wants” list. This was sometimes a source of embarrassment for our son. His friends would call or text on Christmas morning to report their gifts of Kindles, Mac Notebooks and new cars. Taylor would then sheepishly relay that “My mom gave me new pillows for my bedroom.”
Don’t worry; the Little Prince unwrapped his share of X-Boxes, bicycles and joy toys over the years. But he learned early that Christmas in our home is more a celebration of faith and family and less a month-long episode of consumer frenzy. Like many families, we choose to avoid the commercialism surrounding religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas.
While Lewis and Taylor explored distant, alien worlds at the theatre, I relaxed on the couch and contemplated our family’s observances of the secular holidays. Are we too frugal? Uncaring? I think not. We are subtle celebrators for other reasons.
Birthdays and anniversaries represent for us an annual reminder to pause and consider our individual and collective life journeys. On these dates, we are given the opportunity to look both back and forward. To be thankful for blessings conferred and those yet to be bestowed. To be grateful for the strength to endure hardships past and present. To appreciate the fact that our lives are not lived in isolation. Rather, they are made more meaningful through our affiliation with and dependence upon family and friends. On these dates, we celebrate the joy of one more year of growth, attachment and love-filled days.
On Sunday night I grilled a flatiron steak for Lewis. He loves beef, but I seldom cook it because it costs too much (yes, I am frugal) and red meat is shunned by most health advocates. The flatiron steak was a modest gift for my faithful partner of 23 years and the loving father of my only child. But it was a gift laced with love, served with a big hug and a soft whisper in his ear of thanks and gratitude.
That and a couple of Dollar Tree Store greeting cards was all we needed.