Celebrate | Paper Doll Tales

A report card:

Third week of first grade, first full week of preschool.  19/20 on the spelling test.  Self-portrait created with some semi-identifable body parts.  Yoga class attended (headstand progress nil). On-time for bus stop: 10/10.  Breakfast consumed 9/10 mornings.  Hair brushed 8/10 mornings.  Shoes tied.  Mama’s heart still missing the little critters during the lonely hours of the afternoon.

On the news, a desk anchor scoffs at the spreading virus of participation trophies for sports.  As in, “Hey!  You showed up to practice!  You were a physical presence on the bench during the game!  You paid for the uniform and pitched in for the team fundraiser!  Great job!  Take home this Great Participant Trophy!”

I think she’s right to scoff–aren’t we all a little more special than a mere Great Participant Trophy?  In my world, the equivalent would be, “Hey!  You showed up to the kitchen!  You made some swirling motions with a pan and produced something that can be placed on a plate and, maybe, with some coaxing and bribing, actually consumed!  Great job!  Take home this Great Participant Trophy!”

Sadly, my peoples expect a bit more out of me than mere Great Participation.  At least, I suspect they do.  At any rate, they’ve been a bit withholding on the trophy distribution.  (And sometimes withholding from eating what I produce on their plate.)

None of us wants a generic, hollow celebration.  A trophy we receive because we’ve managed to reach the lowest common denominator of having a pulse and breathing.  A pat on the back that occurs because we have managed to possess a back.

We want someone to notice Us.

We want someone to celebrate the mid-week spelling test of 19/20 and the fact that we now pronounce “spelling” “shpelling” thanks to that front teeth gap broken by the seated edge of a grown-up tooth.  We want someone to celebrate the self-portrait because we have perfectly rendered a metaphor for our wide-eyed, coiled-energy self in those humongous circles for orbital sockets.

Shoes get tied.  Lunches get packed.  Days start with a jean-jacket chill and end in sweaty short sleeves.  These are everyday glory moments that deserve to be celebrated, cherished, collected in little palms unmarked yet by long life lines and examined for the ordinary grace of life.

If I’m not celebrating these small victories and glories, you may give me a C- on my report card.  The rest of the time, if I’m fully participating in the celebration of ordinary grace, I’ll be expecting my trophy.

This post is inspired by and shared with the community of writers at Five Minute Fridays.



  1. Larry said:

    You deserve a trophy, ten feet tall, inscribed with letters three feet tall. “MOM.”

    September 18, 2015
  2. Jo said:

    Amen, Larry! The reminder is always timely, Beth: Embrace. Celebrate. Validate. And mostly–grace given and Grace extended.

    September 18, 2015

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