Why Celebrations Matter

My brother inspired me to pay more attention to celebrations. He said, “You should keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge at all times, so you can celebrate at a moment’s notice.” That’s great advice. And I do have champagne always on hand. Champagne wasn’t the right mode of celebration this time, though. I wasn’t really sure what was.

Catherine was selected as Student of the Month in February at her school, Cedar Lane. Oftentimes, if I’m honest with you, I wonder if these little things are just to help parents feel “normal” in a world of abnormality. This was different though. The certificate even said so: For your continued independence in PE. Wow! That was real! I had seen the videos. She really was doing more and more in PE. Frankly, she’s a little athlete and quite competitive.


I was thrilled. I gave her a big hug. I couldn’t be more proud of her and I told Sarah when she came home from school. “Guess what? Catherine got Student of the Month!” We decided we needed to celebrate. But how? Champagne wouldn’t have been right for Sarah either and it certainly didn’t fit for Catherine and this situation. We wanted to do something special for sure.

The thing that kept coming to mind was to go to Chick Fil-A. What kid doesn’t love a trip to CFA? Well, maybe Catherine. The reality was that I was having a hard time thinking of something that would be fun for her and could be spontaneous (aka: relatively easy!) for me. Ultimately, I decided it was about the celebration more than the activity of the celebration. So that was it. Chick Fil-A, here we come!

Sarah put Catherine’s medal on her and we loaded up in the van (Brian was at class) and off we went. When we walked in, I told Catherine the smells were in celebration of her. We told the woman at the counter that we were celebrating. She gave us a great big “Good job!” and we sat down at our table. Truth be told, it was a relatively calm, quiet celebration. Catherine even started dozing a little because we were past her bedtime by the time we got out of the house. I wondered if it was all worth it – getting her bundled to go out in the cold. Fighting the doors in and out of the house, the van, the restaurant. Trying to keep her awake. Trying to think of things to talk about with her to make it feel like we were celebrating. The reality is that I will probably never know if it mattered to Catherine. I think that’s OK. It mattered to Sarah and me. Congratulations Catherine! We are so proud of you.

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