With a to-do list that was already feeling unachievable I spent a day switching from couch to bed to miserable visit to chemist for HARD drugs. With the to-do list looming and a sense of quiet desperation setting in, I was a bit panicky about how I was going to write a speech, buy fairy lights, make and decorate the cake, collect decorative supplies, find a dress and shoe combo and you know, not vomit or start bleeding out my ears.
And the path to here hasn't been all smooth sailing either. We had been white knuckling it through a pretty stressful patch financially, relationally and were running on a pretty low tank, energy wise - probably some contributing factors towards the migraine episode. An episode which went on and on. Still struggling with symptoms on the day of said celebratory milestone, I really just wasn't rocking on all engines the whole week. Deposits of clutter and toy chaos were building up all over the house but I had no time to address them as every scrap of energy and brain space left over after the mersyndol and panadeine were spent on either survival activities or party prep. I was a battlin', for sure.
And the thing is, that I am not a 'big fuss' kind of girl. I love a spontaneous picnic or an easy restaurant dinner with friends. Preparation? Not my strong suit. Details? Bleugh. And my ultimate nemesis? Pressure. Pressure I don't feel I can fulfil sends me into a place of dread and despair and desperate paddling at the top of the white waters of my inadequacies. So yeah, it was going to be a great week.
And yet, behind it all, I really, really wanted my man to feel loved and celebrated. I wanted to speak to him in his love languages and show him how far I am prepared to go for him. He does so much for us and works so hard for this family that I deeply wanted him to have a cracking night, full of fun and friends and knowing how we all adore him.
So we trudged on and between a day off work and trips to doctor, chiropractor and some timely intervention from hubby in the way of using some of his long service leave days (planned for use in a week long festivus of birthday activities but used for taking kids to the park so I could rest), we got there. Our younglings were parcelled up and deposited at the grandparentals, glassware was hired, wine purchased, cake created, then nearly demolished, then patched up after my near cardiac arrest and speech finished at the buzzer (literally printed as the first guests were arriving).
And then it happened. Guests sparkled, laughter raucoused, music danced and wood-fired pizza wafted through the house. My husband was swept up in a swirling tide of chatter and gifts and hugs and that palpable warmth of gathered friends. During the speeches (Love language one - words of affirmation), as we teased and toasted, lauded and loved, I knew this would be one of those nights remembered for the rest of our lives. Seeing my husband protesting his innocence against various tall tales and true, humbly receiving words of encouragement and appreciation and speaking soft words from his heart of gratitude and beauty, I felt truly blessed.
Yes, the week would have been simpler without a party to organise. No doubt. And many times I will advocate for less, for simple, for quiet unremarkableness at home as a bastion against the busyness and stress and rushing. But this celebration reminded me that feasting is a spiritual discipline. That intentionally setting aside times to honour, bless and give thanks is one of the ways we affirm our humanity. The quiet weeks at home with kids and kinder runs and meat and three veg are defined and given meaning by those markers and milestones which allow us to give pause and reflect on how we are changing, what God is doing in and around us, and the purposes which we pursue in the ordinary.
The party was actually an act of worship for the God who has woven so many lives together, for the experiences - ordinary and amazing, which have created family, birthed community and galvanised love. And these 'feasts' do take work. They require time, effort and friends lending a hand but they reap a harvest of joy which strengthens the soul and energises the heart. Seeing clarity and peace return to my husband after a long season of fatigue and humdrum monotony made me realise that milestones are more than a to-do list cluster. They are a chance to realign our perspectives and remember what truly makes life great: love, joy and the hard work of seeking our purpose.