Have you noticed how we spend most of our time waiting for something spectacular to happen before we celebrate?
My mother had a knack for making every little thing in our lives a celebration. She was always smiling and happy.
I remember as a child celebrating nothing in particular, but always having something to be happy about.
Every afternoon when we got home from school my mother would have the table set with a pretty tablecloth and we would sit down to have a merienda. These afternoon snacks always felt like a celebration.
We laughed and talked about what we had done in school. My younger cousins would sometimes join us. Forty years later all of us still remember these afternoons with my mom. She always made us feel special.
When my dad got home from work early, we would celebrate. We celebrated Fridays and rainy days, a good report card or just a passing grade on a difficult test. We celebrated the first day of summer vacation as well as the first day of school.
On Saturdays when we would help my mother clean the house, it always felt as though we were having a party. Salsa music would be blaring from the stereo in the living room and we would dance our way through chores.
Birthdays were always big celebrations in our home. There was no money for fancy parties, but we always had a cake. We would get dressed up, even if it was just the four of us and take pictures to send to my Abuelo's in Cuba.
We're so focused on celebrating the big stuff we forget to celebrate all the little things that make life worthwhile.
Celebrate the small things and I believe that the big ones will follow and if they don't you've spent your life spreading joy.
When you celebrate, you teach your family to reflect on what they have and you bring happiness to those around you.
As an adult I can now understand so many of the difficult things my parents went through during my childhood. And I am so grateful that I was raised by a mother who taught me how to celebrate life regardless of its ups and downs.
Celebrations are small "thank yous" to God for the daily blessings we all have in life.
As difficult as it is to spend this mother's day without my mom I will nevertheless spend the day celebrating with my children and thanking God for the wonderful mother he gave me.
A mother that filled my life with joy and raised me with so much love that even though she is no longer on this earth, her spirit is always with me, and her memory gives me the strength to carry on.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, certified parent educator and corporate empowerment consultant with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children's Behavior, Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom, and Redirecting Corporate America. Contact her at her Web site at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.