Friday, September 16, 2011

The Uncelebration Celebration

Rebecca's less than sunny mood had started on Monday and steadily declined with each passing day until by Thursday storm clouds were looming over the entire family. Saturday was their wedding anniversary. They were young with two small children and one large mortgage which seemed more impossible to pay every month. Going out to celebrate their anniversary was so out of the question it hadn't even been discussed. There seemed no end to their financial Titanic. How could they celebrate their anniversary when they were so deep in debt? How could they not celebrate their anniversary?

By Friday, Rebecca was more than tired of feeling like her world was about to end just because they didn't have the money to go out on the town. They had been blessed with a beautiful home that any couple would be proud to own. Alright Rebecca, you can sit here feeling sorry for yourself and miss a celebration or you can create your own celebration. When Josh arrived home, Rebecca met him at the door with a hug and a kiss. "Well this is a change from the last few days." He said smiling.

"I have decided that we are going to celebrate our anniversary tomorrow."
"Now Sweetie, please don't put me in a position that you know I can't do anything about. I know you want to celebrate and so do I, but we are so financially strapped that there is no way we can spare the money."
"Who said anything about needing money? We are going to create our own celebration."
"Do you have a plan and can I be in on it?"
"Yes I have a plan and yes you can be in on it, Silly. Tomorrow we are not putting the kids down for a nap."
"Oh, now that does sound like a celebration. I can hardly wait."
"I know they will be cranky in the afternoon, but by 6:00 tomorrow night, they will be so tired they will beg for their beds and sleep the rest of the night. Leaving us time to celebrate."
"Now this plan is getting better by the minute."
"After they go to bed, we are going to get all dressed up with no place to go but our house. I'll cook a nice dinner which we will eat after the kids go to bed."
"If we eat without the kids, we might get to sit through the entire meal. Is that still legal?"
"And we might not have to clean up a spill during the meal." Rebecca added to the list of amenities.
"Now I wouldn't bet on that. You and my mother both say I can spill something when no one else can."
"Okay, if you spill, I'll clean it up. Just this once though. After dinner, we will sit in front of the fireplace and talk like adults."
"Can we do anything else like adults?"
"We'll see about that." Rebecca laughed.
Saturday morning was met with great anticipation by Rebecca and Josh. Both children felt the excitement and fed off of throughout the day. Neither of them stopped running, climbing, or jumping all day, nor were they encouraged to by either parent. If they even slowed down, Josh got them moving again. They played 'horsey' and 'leap frog' until Rebecca thought Josh was going to tire before the children. In the late afternoon, both children were cranky so Josh moved some of the living room furniture and set up an obstacle course in the room. Each child took his turn at running down the hallway, jumping over the back of the couch, rolling off the seats and under the coffee table and back again. Behavior that was usually taboo was allowed. When Rebecca thought her nerves were going to snap, Josh reminded her of the goal--exhaust the children enough to fall asleep early and sleep through the night.
About 5:30 that afternoon, Josh put both kids in the bathtub while Rebecca made a kid-pleasing meal. When the bath water turned completely cold, Josh drained the bathtub, dried both slippery children and put away all the bath toys. Rebecca led the toddlers into the kitchen where their child-size picnic table from outdoors had been brought in and set with colorful, fun disposable plates. After both tired youngsters had eaten the hot dog and chips, Rebecca led them into their bedrooms. Josh and Rebecca knelt beside each bed and prayed, kissed each drowsy head, and said good night.

Josh headed to the shower in the hall bathroom while Rebecca pampered herself in the master bath. Josh dressed in his best suit. Rebecca slipped into a slinky black dress and added the pearls that Josh had given her as a wedding present--the last extravagant indulgence she had received for herself. Josh walked into the bedroom just as Rebecca was applying perfume to her neck. "Maybe we could just skip dinner? You're not really that hungry, are you?"

"We are going to eat, Mister. Now escort me into the luxurious private dining room. We have special reservations tonight." Rebecca laughed.

An old lace table cloth covered the dining table and gold colored chargers from the craft store displayed the wedding china. Tall taper candles in silver candle holders--another wedding gift, were set in the middle of the table. Josh lit them as Rebecca brought in the serving dishes. The shrimp salad and chilled cucumber soup she had prepared was delicious. That was followed with Angel Food Cake topped with fresh fruit and real whipped cream.

Josh lit a fire in the fireplace and Rebecca made fresh peppermint chocolate coffee. They sat on the sofa with only the fire to light the room, reminisced about their dating days, and Josh told Rebecca about the first time he had seen her. "It was the first day of our senior year. I was pumped about playing varsity football and I came strutting down that hall. There at the end of the hall stood..." Rebecca had heard the story numerous times over the years, but Josh never tired of telling it.

For the first time in a long time, they could concentrate on each other without worrying about small interruptions or watching the clock for fear of being awakened by small feet in the wee hours of the morning. They sat on the couch, wrapped in each other's arms until only embers remained in the fireplace. By the time they both drifted off to sleep, Rebecca knew that she would remember this uncelebration for a long, long time.
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