Minnesota Mamaleh: Celebrating the BIG Stuff

This week marks Chloe’s 100th day of school. In celebration, we counted 100 teeny tiny objects (Yay!) and created a poster out of said teeny tiny objects (Another Yay!).

Why the effort? The time? The teeny tiny objects? Because 100 days of school marks so-very-much.

100 days of good byes. 100 days of books. 100 days of secrets. 100 days of giggles. And 100 days of skinned knees and tears and band aids.

The 100th day of school is a BIG deal for the under six set. And Chloe is no exception. Her 100th day of preschool is, indeed, a big deal at our house. But more of the lower case kind because for my middle child? I’ve so gotten wise to the 100th day of school poster project.

100 photos to pick, print, cut and glue? No.

100 little rocks to sort, glue, pick off, wash off, and put safely back in the “Special Box” (And by “special” I mean dirty, dirty outside things)? No.

100 legos to glue and explain why they’re missing to Brody? Um, no.

We went with 100 stickers. Peel and stick, baby. Peel and stick. Chloe, Brody and I worked on the poster while we waited for Kayli’s dance class to end and Chloe’s dance class to start. We peeled. We stuck. We counted. We repeated. And when we were done, she was so, so-very-PROUD.

All we’ve heard about this week is the 100th day of school. Because Chloe knows that this is her IMPORTANT day.
It’s a commemoration and a reminder of days gone by. Of getting bigger. Of becoming more independent. Of becoming a KINDERGARTENER.

All of the goodness and fun and celebrating got me thinking about life cycle events, (BIG ones, big ones and small ones) and how we celebrate them. There’s so very much to commemorate, isn’t there?

Baby showers, birthdays and holidays. Baby namings, brises, bat and bar mitzvahs. Weddings, anniversaries and divorces. Weight loss, new hair cuts and new jobs. New boyfriends, first dates and first kisses. Break ups, heart-aches and disagreements. Rejections, let downs and weight gains.

In Judaism it seems like we’re always one step ahead of ourselves in our holidays, preparations and celebrations. We barely get things cleaned up from one holiday and we’re already menu planning for the next one. Smaller, more everyday occasions get our attention, too.

My Jewish Learning says, Though Judaism has long focused on rituals for major life events like birth, marriage, and death, contemporary communities have developed both public and private ways of acknowledging other major lifecycle events, from miscarriages to leaving for college to healing from abuse.

And I love that. Some life cycle events are meant to be savored alone. And some require your tribe to whoop it up with you, or sop up the tears for you. Either one is fine. And I’m so glad that as a community we recognize this necessity. Because whose to say which life cycle events are special?
Is it the inner satisfaction of a goal attained? The praise? The thrill? The something new? The history they honor? The stories they tell? The moments they hold onto? The people? The community? The common bond? The hugs? The handshakes? The pats on the back? The squeeeeels? The knowing looks? The big hugs?
For Chloe is it knowing that she went to school for 100 days? That she learned 100 things? That we were celebrating her accomplishments at home? That her teachers and friends were taking a day out from the norm to do something special at school? Giving her the go ahead to use a whole lot of glue?

 Is it just getting bigger? Stronger? Smarter? More independent? More like Kayli?
It’s probably all of these bits and pieces all rolled up into one BIG emotional ball. Happy and smiley on the outside. Wistful and grasping at the little moments on the inside.
I look at my girl, so big. So proud. So 100 days-ish. And all I can think is I’ll celebrate with you and I’ll do it BIG. But inside, in my heart of hearts, my BIG voice is saying, Don’t get big. Stay small. Please?