Carrot Cake Celebrations

I got a phone call this week from my husband, Mark, who is
stationed in northern Iraq. It was the first time I’ve heard his
voice in a month. As I sat there on the phone with him, tears
started rolling down my cheeks. My sister Juliette was with me when
I got the call, and she started to cry as well.
I got a phone call this week from my husband, Mark, who is stationed in northern Iraq. It was the first time I’ve heard his voice in a month. As I sat there on the phone with him, tears started rolling down my cheeks. My sister Juliette was with me when I got the call, and she started to cry as well.

“I’m sad because you’re sad,” she said with a hug.

I explained to her that my tears weren’t from sadness; they were coming from joy.

Instead of throwing myself a pity party for the past two months while my husband has been gone, I have focused on the fact that I’m lucky to have him to miss. Although it may be difficult to know he’s in a war zone for eight months, at the same time, I’m truly blessed to have such a wonderful person in my life to begin with.

One of the things Mark has helped me do during the past few years is slow down and enjoy life. In our house, we have birthday parties and holiday gatherings, but we also celebrate the small things. A pay raise at work or our dog’s second birthday, which is this weekend, are celebrated. It may sound silly, but why wouldn’t you celebrate the little things?

For our family, the traditional small celebration is a piece of carrot cake. While I was talking to Mark the other day, he told me he was promoted to Captain.

“I wish I was there to celebrate and eat cake with you,” he said.

It may just be two forks and a slice of cake with cream cheese frosting, but it’s really so much more. It gives us a chance to enjoy our lives. If you were to take a step back and examine your life based on milestones, what would you have so far? High school graduation? Maybe the birth of your children or grandchildren? These are all wonderful times, but they can probably be counted on two hands.

What about that time at work when your boss applauded you at staff meeting for a job well done, or for us women, that time you fit back into those leather pants or that little red dress? All of these things are worthy of small celebrations, because it’s those little moments that you’re going to remember when you’re sitting on your porch at 80 years old thinking, “How did life pass me by so quickly?”

As Americans, we’re constantly on the go. There have been times when I’m rushing in the car to an interview while drinking my coffee and paying a bill over the phone at the same time. We rush and we rush and we constantly think about what’s next, but we never take the time to appreciate what’s right before our eyes.

I say this because along with having my husband gone, I just recently lost my sister-in-law Jane Cuthbert, 22, when a train she was riding derailed in Chicago. Looking back now, I’m grateful that I had the time I did with her, and I’m glad that she, too, celebrated the little things in life. Just last summer we enjoyed a round of beers to celebrate her first gray hair. At 21 years old, it was worth a laugh and a small celebration.

Whether you live to 22 or 102, life will always seem too short. It’s the pieces of cake, rounds of beer and simple little moments that make it all worth the while.

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