Every year my reaction is the same. “It’s Fish Day!” mom will say. Meanwhile, my mouth starts watering and I begin to pace the hallways of my forever home because I know what this means. And as mom and dad put on their flip flops, I know the journey is about to begin.
As long as I’ve been around my forever family, it means off to Port Washington, Wisconsin we go. It is the home to lots of things, including the birthplace and childhood home of my dear forever father. But on this one special day every year it is the home to so much more. It is home to the world’s largest one-day outdoor fish fry. (Google it if you don’t believe me). And, since it is home to much of the Schmidt family, that means it’s a reason to celebrate.
Because I’m sure everyone has one. A month of birthdays. For us it’s July. In addition to my dear forever mom and several of her pals, her sister and mom have birthdays in July, as well as dear favorite little people of mine Abigail and Sam, and my forever father’s dad Gerry.
So you could say that Fish Day has taken on a life of its own for our forever family. It’s a day when we get together and celebrate by way of eating fried fish, but there is also cake. (Which means there is a little frosting to spare for everyone’s favorite four-legged friend otherwise known as me).
And this year, I was surprised to find even more meaning behind this special day. Yes, everyone was glad everyone was born. And yes, everyone loves a good piece of fried fish and birthday cake for dessert. But this year was different for my forever family. Because this year involved dear baby Carter. And he was a bit of a handful, what with all of his almost 7-month-old teething at the time.
But none of that mattered to his grandma Schmidt, especially since she hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. He fussed and cried and did everything he doesn’t normally do. But what I saw through her eyes that day was pure and completely uncomplicated love and appreciation for all things this little person would bring into the world.
Joy. From the ground up, I saw that in her wisdom that day. Her and my dear forever mom talked at length in the living room with no one but a sleepy Carter and myself there to hear them about life as a mom and all that entails. I’ve heard it before from other family members (like my mom’s mom and sister) too, but something seemed to come full circle that day hearing it from my grandma Schmidt. Like in some odd way everyone who loves dear baby Carter was on the same page.
This isn’t to say I didn’t know this before. But I know every year something special is going to happen at Fish Day and this year was no different. This year I was reminded there is so much more to life than fried fish (though that was and always will be very yummy). There is life. And the love that life breeds. These are the things worth celebrating not just one day a year but every single day.