I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Bio Celebrations worth effort to make positive memories

From the time we kids started school, birthdays meant having friends over for games, presents, and cake. There was the year in Wisconsin my older sister Karin was sick on her September birthday and in bed, she couldn’t have her friends over. But Mom still managed to make her birthday special. We all went upstairs to her bedroom. Karin had already gotten her first wish, which she could see out the window–snow. My parents also made sure she got her second wish–ice skates.

In Wisconsin, kids started ice skating at a very young age. Karin didn’t have her friends, but she had good wishes, cake, and skates. Mom saw birthdays as something to be celebrated. As we got older, we got to choose what we wanted for our birthday dinners. By our teens often we opted for a couple of close friends to do something special with as well as dinner and Mom’s delicious cake. In Iowa, we lived out in the country, so I opted for a friend and the family. My choice for dinner was sloppy joes and chips.

Mom loved birthdays but loved Christmas even more. She went all out baking a variety of cookies, etc. not only for our family but for an open house for those from church and from wherever we lived at any given time. She’d also make plates of cookies to give away to those unable to attend the open house. Mom provided positive memories. Once I contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and was in constant pain for several years, those memories helped me focus on something good. I learned we need milestones of positive memories to look back on when life isn’t always so nice or when we’re dealing with hurt, pain, or loss.

Celebrations bring people together. Sometimes we don’t realize how important those gatherings can be. When my niece Crystal got married the family gathered. It was a great and fun day. Crystal’s Mom Jenni, Jenni’s siblings and families were all there celebrating–making memories. No one had a clue those memories would have to last a lifetime. It wasn’t long before one of her brothers passed away. That time together, eased some of the grief.

When I turned 70 on January 24th, 2020, our kids, Cassie and Chris, threw me a party at the Mitzy Pavilion Center. Family and friends gathered for pizza, cupcakes, gifts, games, and I received a special hug from my grandson Dane–who doesn’t give hugs. (Of course, he made quite a production of it, and I got pictures.) I loved it.

Keith’s Dad Jiggs was also able to attend. It was good to see him. Keith had fallen on ice in early January and had seriously damaged his ankle. He wasn’t supposed to put any weight on it at all. It meant we couldn’t go visit Dad in the home in Minden. So, it was great getting to spend time with him.

What we didn’t realize was that Covid 19 was about to hit, and we’d all be isolated. I never got to see Jiggs alive in person again. In the summer he fell, was taken to the hospital in Kearney, and, for a time, it appeared he was improving. Then he lost ground and we ended up with a funeral. I am so glad I can look back and remember him smiling and enjoying himself at my birthday.

Don’t let opportunities for celebration go by. We need the encouragement of celebrations. Since we can’t see the future, we also don’t know how important those times may turn out to be. So, take the time, to lift someone up with a celebration.

© 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies

Hub column published 5/16/22 titled “Celebrations put exclamation point on life”

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