So often in my life I have wanted to celebrate some great achievement in my life, either for my own personal glory and recognition or because it seemed the right thing to do or just to celebrate a job well done, and yet somehow the celebration surrounding these great things have become more about the other people in my life rather than myself or my success. Marriage, graduation, buying a house, even birthdays. Suddenly the celebration of my job well done becomes focused on them. Whether it’s spending the entire celebration listening to how other people accomplished the same thing – and often better or faster (or it was harder or longer) – or coordinating the out-of-town accommodations or fighting over the celebratory dinner (both fighting over what to serve for dinner and just fighting at the dinner table), or just how my accomplishments reflected on them (i.e. bragging rights for the parents), so often it seems the focus, the energy, is more about them than me. My wedding was delayed by a half hour because my sister scared all of my friends away and then locked herself in a guest bedroom and wouldn’t come out until my mother lectured her. Then my mother and father had a huge blow-up fight at the after-wedding brunch that left them not able to be in the same room as each other for the rest of the weekend, with with me coordinating which events they would be attending so they didn’t see each other. One birthday my dad got me eclairs rather than a birthday cake because that’s what he preferred. I had several family members get drunk and make asses of themselves at my first house warming. Every graduation and job promotion somehow becomes a reflection on what a good father my dad is.
I realize that many celebrations are as much about the other people as it is about the celebrated person. That’s what most celebrations are about, the people you invite. And I understand that I am not the center of the universe, and in truth it makes me feel somewhat awkward to have all of the attention. But just once I would like to have a celebration that truly and totally was about me and not actually focused on someone else.