Lynette and Carl engagement session with Jacarandas

The joy of celebrating milestones and moments

If you’ve been on the blog for a few seconds you would notice that I love a good celebration. I love commemorating birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones, but enjoy even making a big deal of small moments such as a new hair cut or an off Saturday. When Prince Charlie and I first started dating we even celebrated our month-aversaries which was a fun way to “force” us to make date night a priority. COVID and its pandemic threatened to put a damper on celebrations of all kinds but I love finding alternative ways to honour special days and special people.

This week Prince Charlie and I celebrate the tenth anniversary of the day he asked me to be his wife. Although we observed this day at the beginning of our engagement and counted down the days to our wedding, we don’t normally make a big deal of this date. But ten years is quite a special number which I believe calls for some reflection and celebration.

During October 2010 we went on an adventurous road trip from Gauteng to Cape Town, making a few stops along the way, and in the process getting to know each other even better. Besides one trip to Germany, this was the longest time we had spent together just the two of us, which allowed us to find even more reasons to fall in love with each other. These were the early days of Facebook and we were not selfie-takers by any means, so most of the photos of this holiday consist of me in front of some landmark or animal.

I knew the Big Question was imminent because I had helped design the ring and knew that Carl had picked it up from the jeweller. So, every morning I woke up wondering if this was The Day. This went on for two weeks until the last day of our trip. During Springtime the weather in Cape Town is still a bit rainy and unpredictable so we were not able to go on top of Table Mountain, which I later learned was Carl’s plan for proposing all along. Another idea he had was to propose on the side of Chapman’s Peak overlooking the magnificent ocean, but just as he got the ring out the car another van full of visitors parked next to us. On the last morning of our trip, we glanced out the window and saw a thick white blanket on the Table, which meant there was no way we would be allowed up there. In a final act of desperation, I suggested we go to Boschendal for a picnic. Fortunately, they had a place for us and we made our way to Franschoek.

Picnics on the wine farms have been upgraded and made more luxurious in recent years, but we were not used to such a fancy outing in those days. Because it was a weekday, we had the gardens almost all to ourselves and lingered on the lawns while drinking in the stunning scenery of the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains. The morning turned in to the afternoon, and eventually, our picnic basket was empty, but so was my ring finger. In a desperate attempt to hide my disappointment I excused myself to go to the bathroom before we would make our way back to our apartment.

When I returned to the gazebo in the garden, Carl finally went on bended knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was so relieved that we won’t be driving all the way back to Pretoria with the ring, that I burst out laughing. He was completely shocked by my reaction, but of course I said YES!

Boschendal gazebo Franschoek Western Cape
Pond in Boschendal wine estate, near Franschhoek

For the whole loooooong trip home I could not stop looking at the beautiful rock glistening on my finger (which caused a bit of panic when I was in the driver’s seat). I couldn’t believe that I was engaged to such a wonderful man – a gift from God. There were many years I thought I would never find someone, and now I was going to marry the perfect someone for me!

Fourteen months later we tied the knot, and the rest is history.

To celebrate the first decade since our betrothal, we went to one of our favourite restaurants we missed so much during the lockdown, named Hussar Grill at the Grove. The steaks melted in our mouths and the wine even celebrated with us. It was a beautiful night where we could reminisce on all the Lord has done for us, and all the dreams we still look forward to.

Celebrating every small moment is a great strategy to remind yourself of all the blessings you have to be grateful for. According to psychologists, it helps to buffer us against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress. Celebrations give us something to look forward to and help us feel more optimistic.

Andrew Merle writes that celebration is important because it reminds us to be grateful for what we have and of what we have achieved. Celebrations are an opportunity to rest, reset and set new bigger and bolder goals. According to researchers, the results of celebrating with gratitude are an increase in energy, less stress and anxiety, better physical health, including sleep and exercise, and greater personal progress.

“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.”

Brene’ Brown

It is good to celebrate the big days – birthdays, anniversaries and milestones, but these are too rare to be our only reasons to rejoice. We need to look for reasons for joy every day. Made it through a tough week? Have a glass of wine on Friday evening. Handed in a project you are proud of (or almost didn’t finish on time) – enjoy some quality time with those you have neglected in the pursuit. A Jacaranda blossom fell on your head? Smile and say a ‘thank you prayer’ to your heavenly Father who shows you he loves you in small and big ways.

Lynette and Carl at the Grove Mall

Celebrations should be simple and stress-free, but special enough to make your heart swell with gratitude. Whatever you choose to celebrate and however you decide to commemorate the highlights in life, allow these moments to carry you through the tough days and remind you that the next partytjie is just around the corner.

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