Personally, I’m a huge believer of the above statement. Life should be celebrated at all times, if not for anything else other than you’re still here to celebrate it. To me, life is one of the most “taken for granted” gifts we’re given and we don’t seem to treasure it as those who are thankful to have it ought. Life gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate and cheer on our own accomplishments. Sure we have the typical accomplishments of birthdays, graduations, marriage, childbirth, etc. But what about those accomplishments that we don’t really consider as celebratory acts? Fitting into a smaller outfit, finishing a goal faster than the time frame set for it, paying off a bill that was burden on the budget, buying the car you’ve always wanted, etc, are all accomplishments that are worth celebrating. Your life deserves a celebration daily because you’ve completed another day filled with its issues and struggles and you’re still around to tell the tale in a time and age that people are not living as long as anticipated.
We all know that life can be hard and at times, cruel. It can make others not believe in you and can make you second guess yourself. I know that’s what it’s done for me at different points in my life. I’m known to be my worst enemy at the times I needed to be my own best friend. When we lost our first child, Speranza, I blamed myself. I took it hard to the point that I felt it would be better that I go join her instead of continuing on with life. You see, between the years of fifteen and sixteen, I learned that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). During that visit, my doctor blatantly told me that it was possible for me to get pregnant but that I would not be able to carry the child in my womb because of my weight. I was devastated. My whole upbringing was centered around God, education, having a husband and having children. I knew I was different from the other young ladies my age due to strict parents but I didn’t know that this made me different too. So I’m physically awkward…in high school. It gets no more traumatizing than that in the eyes of a sixteen year old who was starting to become boy crazy. It’s because of that doctor’s visit that I started to withdraw from liking guys and just keeping everyone at the full arms length reach of friendship. I figured guys would like a real girl who could eventually have kids and at the time, I was told I’m not going to be that kind of woman. So despite my own urges, I began to leave guys alone until a guy I met during college. From then, I realized that guys are going to want me because I’m a girl and then the right one will want me regardless of my inability to have children. A short time later (May 8, 2001), I met the love of my life (who is now my husband) and told him all of this on our very first date. He accepted me and loved me despite it all.
Fast forward to February 14, 2011, the day of our 8th year anniversary. I had been feeling “off” for a while and a friend encouraged me to take a pregnancy test. We both have PCOS so we were making jokes about the lady on television who would buy several pregnancy test and take them all because she didn’t believe the first to be true. Sure enough, I became that person in real life because that first test said that I was indeed pregnant. Like really pregnant. I was so excited I ran out of house fully naked to stop my husband from leaving for work to tell him the news. He jumped out of our vehicle and ran to the house to hear what I had to tell him. I showed him the test and then…nothing. No excitement. No reaction. All I heard was “go call the doctor.” Here I was, standing before him with tears in my eyes full of excitement, ready to celebrate everything with the man I loved and all I got in return was “go call the doctor” as he turned to leave for work. We found out a few days later that I was four months along and that in March, I would find out the sex of the baby. March 23, 2011, four days before my appointment to find out the sex of the baby, I lost Speranza due to an incompetent cervix. It was only after they completed an autopsy on her to see if there were any other issues aside from my incompetent cervix that we found out for sure she was a girl. The doctor’s words to me rang true and loudly in my ear. I started doubting myself, God and the whole process. Then I started feeling guilty over complaining about the aches, the tiredness, the cravings, the faint feeling I felt every morning as I got out of bed, the way I felt we didn’t celebrate the fact that I was pregnant enough. The attitude of gratitude was not there. The appreciation of life was not there. Just the complaining and the whining and the thumbing of my nose to the doctor who said I could not carry a child. I carried her far longer than he expected.
The next pregnancy was completely different. I knew it was a girl pretty soon into the pregnancy because I had the exact same symptoms I had with Speranza. I vowed this time would be different, even down to my husband’s reaction. Sadly, that’s the only thing that remained the same the second time around. This time, I celebrated every single thing during the pregnancy. Every doctor visit, every day I stayed in the hospital (imagine being all alone in a Sicilian hospital) when I received my cerclage, every ache, every pain, every milestone in the trimesters – everything was celebrated! Why? So I can silence the voice in the back of head that was telling me I wasn’t going to carry this child to full term due to my PCOS. So I can silence my inner critic as she decided to tell me that I didn’t know what I was doing and because of that it would be unwise of me to have a baby. So I can silence the nagging sub-conscience system that told me that I was still too fat to have a baby.
I still celebrate moments in connection with the birth of our second daughter. Every morning when I hear her whine or come into our room to “wake us up” (it’s in quotation marks simply because most of the time, we’re already awake), I inwardly celebrate because she’s here another day. I still inwardly celebrate my marriage. Statistics has never looked favorably on people who married young, people who met on the internet, people who live the military lifestyle and yet we’re still here, thirteen married years later ( ten years of the military lifestyle, fifteen years total in our relationship), continuing to defeat all of those statistics. None of this is easy which is why I celebrate it all. It’s why I make up silly songs for the kid when she does something she didn’t think she could accomplish. It’s why I do the silly things for my husband when he accomplishes something he thought it would take longer to achieve. Because they are still here to do experience the victory over their obstacles and because I’m here to help them achieve or to be a witness to their greatness.
Until next time, celebrate yourself! You have accomplished much and you have done great things regardless of the size of those things. Don’t let a devastation be the only thing to get you to thinking about what should be celebrated. Give yourself roses in the form of a celebration while you’re still here to accept them. Cheer yourself on to higher heights and know that you’re worth every cheer, every “I did it”, every celebratory dance, every thankful tear. Congratulations you! You’re amazing!