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thru the fire
The party has ended. The guests have departed. I find myself vacuuming, cleaning, and laundering from the week’s festivities. Our daughter’s long-planned wedding reception has come and gone. Oh, the love, laughter, and joy that this house enveloped these past five days! Such milestone moments tend to summon a mixture of emotions mingled with nostalgic memories, dreams, and expectations. I glance at the clutter and am overwhelmed with the blessings it all represents: Years of working, saving, dreaming, parenting, friending and praying. This celebration was one of great validation of our purpose in life: to have goals, to sacrifice, to plan, to make the most of each day, and to bless one another along the way in the midst of daily struggles.
There are so many details in planning wedding celebrations; the challenges are numerous and sometimes unexpected. We could never have imagined the wonderful response for much-needed human connection, the desire to laugh, converse, dance, sing, eat and tangle with others over varying ideas and perspectives. Confetti! The Italian plural word confetti originates from the Latin confectum, meaning “small sweet”. As I reflect on the entirety of the preparation, collaboration, and celebration, there was confetti. In Italian, French, and Greek cultures, confetti is given in the form of five confection-covered almonds that represent life’s sweet and bitter moments. Each almond symbolizes a different blessing for the married couple: happiness, health, fertility, longevity, and wealth. Because life is both bitter and sweet, the confetti numbers the prime number 5 to show indivisibility: that the couple cannot be divided during difficult times. As we review these blessings, we can see that each takes intentionality: each necessitates work, discipline, planning, and sacrifice – factors some may consider bitter. However, it is the bitter moments that elevate our ability to appreciate the sweetest moments and the people who often bring them.
The success of our recent heart-rubbing wedding reception celebration and bittersweet moment rested on my sister and life-long friends from across the United States who came early to help me and stayed late to break down and pack-up. They left family, work, and more to support me. They cooked and cleaned, choreographed dances, and ran errands with me when needed. Confetti! It’s these small sweets, these blessings that make life worth living, people worth loving, and moments worth celebrating.
Every parent knows the heart-rubbing, sweet and bitter milestone moments of the parental highway:
First day of school
When your child moves out or leaves for college
When your child gets married
When your child becomes a parent
These moments signify a change in your relationship and alter your self-definition and your child’s need for you. At least, they should. If you are wise, you move through the emotions in prayer and with the help of friends and allow your child to soar without carrying guilt or worrying about your feelings in their growth. This is where my confetti gets thrown! As the mother of one child, confetti-friends have carried me through these transitional moments. They correct me when my emotions get the best of me. They joke and make me laugh and comfort me with a memory or affirmation of how well I’ve played my role as a mother.
Confetti: small sweets during life’s sweet and bitter moments.
Ever notice that your heart leaps a bit as you watch confetti floating, swirling, drifting freely through the air? It flips, it twirls, it dances. Confetti represents celebration, accomplishment, merriment, hope. It settles into the cracks and provides glitter or color. I am grateful for the confetti my friends sprinkle on me, and I hope and pray to be as light, fanciful, and delightful for them as they are for me. I pray you throw confetti, and receive the confetti moments in your life, with glee and appreciation, even if there is a small, messy, bittersweet clean-up in the end. Revel in it all; appreciate the drift, the dance, the love.
Until next week!
Dr. Marie Yvette Hernandez-Seltz is the founder of Candescent Counseling, Consulting & Coaching. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She has spent the past 15 years studying self-esteem, self-confidence, responsibility, and the effects of environment and culture on the individual.