Few months back, as I pooled in names for my son’s baptism, we were upset. So many people! This is a baptism, not a wedding, we whined.
It comes from a place of concern. Birthdays and weddings are such huge affairs now – there is so much going on. The simplicity of a cake and the warmth of company seems lost in keeping kids busy in shows and activities… Forget how expensive and wasteful these are, what are we telling our kids? And how much is too much? And do I love them less if I don’t have the energy or will to organise a pool party and a joker prancing around.
It’s a combination of things…the kids, their health, our lifestyles, and probably the sort of people we are, we shy away from events, crowds and celebrations. And as the list grew, we were worried.
We took a decision. People who were important to us or our family members would be invited.
Everyone we invited, made time for us.
And the evening was not filled with fake smiles or stressful conversations.
It went well.
A slice of cake with the warmth of people who matter to mark an important event in our lives.
My childhood is filled with similar memories.
Birthdays with my parents waking us up, hugs and kisses and a gift every year.
Mom’s warm cake straight out of the oven.
Holidays traveling from home to home in Kerala.
My grandma’s delicious food, the visits to her brothers and sisters. There was a celebration for everything, birthdays, anniversaries…if it wasn’t one of those, the celebration was in the coming together, in the open welcome, in the preparation of a meal, in the shared meals, in the singing and the togetherness.
One of my most memorable Christmas nights was spent in the company of friends humming to tunes on a beautifully lit street in Bangalore.
I want my kids to experience love and celebration through the small things in life.
So I sing and scream as we decorate together. Even my tiny one hums along “la la la” with me. As they play Secret Santa in their building these days, the best part, they realised has not been the gift. It was sitting together and wrapping gifts as a family. It was trying to run from the door without being caught as they delivered gifts. It was showing up with a gift for someone sad to simply cheer them up.
It is never about how many people or how much something cost. It is how much thought you put into something. It is about the care with which you create moments.
A part of me wants to do things small. Another wants everyone I love to be a part of everything.
However we choose to celebrate,
I want my kids to see the love that togetherness brings, feel the warmth of shared experiences and understand that life becomes special with the special few.