Celebrating Joy

It sure has been a hard “season” of life lately. A season which has dragged on much longer than we expected when the world took a pause in March 2020. As we continued to wrestle with how to change almost every aspect of our lives, approaching the holidays in the fall brought out a lot of emotions.

There were no gatherings….no Cookie Day….no big Christmas dinner…no parties…. Despite the stress of gift-buying and trying to make Christmas day “special,” overall the seasons seemed quiet. I personally enjoy the slower-pace, but I sometimes felt guilty about not doing more for the boys. No travel. No ice-skating. Plenty of sled-riding opportunities arose though, as well as snow-shoveling.

The last weekend before school started again, a neighbor friend texted a video of the “explosion cake” she and her daughter had just made. Mr. Ornery said, “Wow, I hope we get a piece of that!” when I showed it to him right before bed. Waking up the next morning, he stood in front of me with the silliest, most excited smile, “Today we get a slice of that cake!” which was followed a couple seconds later with, “Let’s make our own.”

That’s all it took. After trying to think through all the steps during my shower, I called my friend and asked for the general directions. Brilliantly, she offered to drop off not only a couple slices of her cake, but the cake pans, circle cutter and neon food coloring for us to use. We got to work and over the course of a day, we had created a six-layer rainbow cake with candy in the middle. Mr. Ornery held it on his lap as we drove over to show it to the cousins. Gathering the boys in a crowd, we sliced through the cake and watched with joy as candy spilled out.

As Facebook replaces quite a bit of the in-person connections void, I shared the photos and video. A friend asked, “What’s the occasion for that cake?” Pausing after reading her comment, I responded with the first thing that popped in my head, “We’re celebrating Joy.”

Celebrating being in the moment. Celebrating spontaneity. Celebrating an activity that brought brothers together. Celebrating the eagerness to share joy with cousins. Celebrating that we have each other, we have a home and food. Celebrating friends who drive in the rain to drop off supplies. Celebrating the gift of time when activities have paused and the craze of life slowed down.

This season has been long and hard. Wrestling with the uncertainty of a dangerous pandemic, the trauma of continued racism in our country, and a growing division spurred by politics and lies and misinformation has been truly exhausting. Top that with single parenting three wild and wonderful boys through remote learning and the usual trials of training up sons, and it is important to find moments to Celebrate Joy.

So, to celebrate the fact that my son’s COVID test came back negative, I’m grabbing a slice of Godiva cheesecake tonight (for after they go to bed and I have quiet time and sole control over the remote!)

To celebrate the beauty of finding two passionate women to join me in leading a team to create our region’s first crisis nursery, Jeremiah’s Place, we have formed a “Founder’s Day” coming up February 4th to sponsor the cost of keeping the center open for a day.

And the biggest celebration of this year happened January 20th when we turned back toward civility and morality and empathy. We elected a woman to the Vice Presidency for the first time and listened to the wise words of a young poet in a day filled with Joy for so many.

May we continue to Celebrate Joy in all the moment we can possibly capture.

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