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my kitchen table, vicki hinze, when you lose everything

Written by Vicki Hinze

On April 16, 2012


It’s all too easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do, or that we feel we have to do, that we neglect to take time to smell the roses.  Now and then something happens to remind us to smell the roses—and their leaves and stems—and we become fully aware of what we’ve been missing.

Yesterday was such a day.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

It was the eldest of my angels’ birthday celebration.  The “tribe” got together at a state park that was just lovely.  A great pavilion, a separate grilling pavilion, lots of benches and tables.  Grilled burgers and hot dogs, fresh fruit and yummy strawberry trifle and fresh veggies and dips.  Check out the chocolate dipped strawberries my daughter made.  (Too good for words!) Brownies and a carrot cake, angel eggs (some call them deviled eggs), and other goodies rounded out the feast.

The kids swam, went tubing behind the boat, filled water balloons and, from the littlest on up, took turns water-bombing others.  We played volleyball, we talked, we laughed, we had fun.  Lots and lots of fun.

And I noted a few things (there were many others) that made this a Five Star Day.

  • Not one person answered his or her cell phone.  Plenty of them rang, but not one person stopped what they were doing and answered.  Everyone was pleasantly, otherwise occupied.
  • No one checked his or her email.  Lots of little bings went off, signaling new email.  But no one checked it.  In fact—quite an oddity for today (and more’s the pity)—cell phones stayed tucked away in handbags or lay atop tables. At least for this sunny and mild, beautiful afternoon, they were deemed less significant than whatever else was being done.
  • Adults and kids played volleyball, from age two to sixty and holding.  Sometimes we had two balls going—a small beach ball that wouldn’t hurt the wee ones, and a regular, regulation volleyball.  There were lots of out-of-bounds hits, and intermittently, the game would go on pause while an adult lifted one of the wee ones so he or she could spike the ball over the net.  Applause followed, whether the ball made it over or under the net.  The great part?  None of the other little ones objected—and the best part yet—not one of them (and there were a ton of kids there) seemed surprised to see such a pause occur.  They considered it normal.  Typical.  Isn’t that terrific? No one lost patience.  No one groaned or muttered.  In fact, one far too small to lift a wee one did his best trying.  It landed both on their backsides in the dirt, and the response?  Laughter, them included.
  • An infant went from one pair of arms to another being held and cooed to by women and men and older kids under supervision.  The baby, who was as cute as a button dressed in a darling bumblebee ensemble, was content the entire day.

We stayed until late, and as we walked to the car to leave, it was satisfying to see we’d left nothing but footprints.  The little ones picked up all the remnants of the balloon bombs, all that was recyclable had been put in the container for that purpose, and the trash had been bagged and put in its container.

The pavilion looked barren without loved ones and all the decorations in it.  Still and silent, but not empty.  Nope, far from empty.  It held the echoes of laughter and shared secrets; the joy of children and adults playing, happy to be together, and then it hit me.  It was true a Five Star Day.

Now some would see this as a kid’s birthday party, picnicking with family and friends and that’s all they’d see.  But it was far more than that.  Slow down a moment and think about it.

It was a day celebrating a very special angel’s very special birthday.  A day to treasure, gathering with loved ones and friends and the friends and families of friends.  Those are times to be valued and cherished, but this day… well, that’s not all this day was.

It was also a day of building memories that will last the lifetimes of those who lived it.

And those memories make it a Five Star Day.



P.S.  Just to keep me really appreciating these memorable days, this morning the washer burned up.  I’m grateful it didn’t set the house on fire—and glad I had the serenity wash-over from yesterday before having to deal with it.  Events, do keep us humble and grateful, don’t they?

P.S.S.  Share your favorite Five Star Day in a comment.  I’d love to hear them.




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