PINKE: Over the top in 2017
WISHEK, N.D. -- With a new year comes a fresh start, a clean calendar. In our family, we celebrate several birthdays in December and January, including my own on the twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany. After a lifetime of having a birthday after ...
WISHEK, N.D. - With a new year comes a fresh start, a clean calendar. In our family, we celebrate several birthdays in December and January, including my own on the twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany. After a lifetime of having a birthday after the holidays, I'm used to a smaller, quieter celebration. No one needs another party in early January and everyone is gifted out. But I always purposefully carve out time to celebrate family birthdays, regardless of the date.
For example, my grandma's birthday is just before Christmas. I knew this year's celebration of the 87 year old would be a typical quiet Monday, but I wanted to make her day special. I went to the local flower shop and bought a greenery centerpiece, and included two cards - one from my husband and kids and another one just from me. My card was about "you and me" times shared between a grandmother and a grandchild. As the oldest and only grandchild for many years, I had a lot of you and me time with my Grandma Nola. Our son, Hunter, experienced the same as the only grandchild and great-grandchild in my family for many years.
That evening my mom, cousin Wyatt, Hunter, my soon-to-be 92-year-old grandpa, grandma and I gathered in the farmhouse living room for a little family party. There weren't balloons or streamers - just precious time visiting, sharing stories about birthdays and Christmases past and a half sheet cake. It was more cake than the small group of us needed but big enough to have a grand birthday message with plenty of colorful frosting flowers.
After eating cake, laughing and everyone allowing me to snap a few pictures to capture the moment, Grandma gave me a side hug and said words that will always stick with me: "Oh Katie. You're so over the top. I really appreciate it today."
My grandma has taught me how to be more patient, how to quietly serve others with no expectations of anything in return, how to meticulously plan, bake and cook for a crowd, how to organize and hang clothes on the clotheslines with order, and to follow a household routine. Grandma has said many times through the years she didn't use her home economics degree from North Dakota State University for a career. But I think she did. She built a farm with my grandpa, raised a family, set a classy example of respect and admiration, and used her home economic skills every day to train three generations after her - my mom and her siblings, my siblings, cousins and me, and now our children.
Our families all benefit from grandma's education put into action.
And even though I'm different and more "over the top" than most in my family, Grandma appreciates and loves me just for who I am.
If I'm going to be known for something, being over the top in expressing my love for people is a description I will hang on to. In a new year with a fresh start for all of us, find your over-the-top ways to celebrate those around you.
On my 87th birthday, I hope to be over-the-top loved. I imagine an overwhelming sense of fulfillment if I'm blessed to celebrate 87 years of life in my farmhouse living room with my husband, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren nearby eating cake and sharing family stories. You can't put a price tag on the gift of over-the-top love. Sometimes all it takes is a stop at the flower shop, birthday cards, cake, and time.
How you fill your calendar in 2017 is up to you. Dedicate this year to over-the-top love. Be intentional about your time, celebrate and experience the fulfillment that comes from giving with no expectations of anything in return.