On Saturday, I was lucky to attend a wonderful wedding shower for our daughter Kaitlyn. Given Kaitlyn’s love of tea parties and in honour of her time spent in the UK, the theme of the shower was a ‘High Tea Party’. The guests were invited to wear a fascinator in their hair. For those of you unfamiliar with this, think of one of the flowers or small hats that Princess Kate wears and you will get the idea.
For my part, I had some baking to do and some games to organize. Of course I had an outfit to wear and I purchased a much understated fascinator (hair band with a flower). The day of the shower dawned bright and sunny and we headed off to the hostess’ home.
Other than Kaitlyn’s attendants who were there early getting set up, the first guests to arrive were four ladies, Christine, Lynda, Tandee and Karla, who work with Matt. While these women do know Kaitlyn, they certainly know Matt better. We were delighted that they wanted to join us for the shower. When they arrived at the door, I knew that we were in for some fun. They each arrived with a beautiful fascinator in their hair and with a wonderful ‘tea party’ dress on. Understated would not be an appropriate word to describe their fascinators. These girls went all out. It was as if they had thought, ‘If I am going to a Tea Party, then I am really going to experience it fully!”
As you likely know by now, I often observe life and think about the lessons that we are offered in the most regular daily happenings. This shower, and the arrival of these women, provided me with exactly such a lesson.
So often in life, we go through our days and evenings putting a rather minimal amount of effort into each activity. I am not suggesting that we are lazy or that we do not care. I am suggesting that we often do not go “all in”. We get a little blasé about our effort. I thought about the effort these women put into getting ready for the shower, and more importantly, the energy that they brought to the shower. I have had the pleasure of witnessing these women in action in other areas of their lives and I recognized that they put this exact kind of energy into everything they do. Whether helping at a concession stand, organizing a school event, teaching classes, supporting a friend in a time of need or celebrating a milestone, they seem to arrive ‘fascinators on’!
Imagine what could happen if each of us approached the events in our lives with this ‘fascinators on’ attitude. It would mean that we had committed to being fully present at each activity that we participate in. Imagine how this one act could change the tone of a meeting, or the energy at a dinner table, or even a casual conversation. I’m guessing that even phone calls, and business and family obligations, would improve drastically.
I loved being with these women on Saturday. I loved that they took a full Saturday afternoon to spend with my daughter. But I especially loved that they spent it in a way that told her they were delighted to be a part of it. That was the best gift of all. In 10 years it is unlikely that Kaitlyn will be able to remember exactly who brought which gift to the shower. However, she will almost certainly remember the gift that these women gave her – the gift of their full presence.
This week I am on a road trip with Jim. I have decided to use this idea of an imaginary fascinator to remind myself to be fully present. As it was written in Lisa Genova’s book, Inside the O’Briens, “Either be Now Here or be No Where”. Christine, Karla, Tandee and Lynda were definitely Now Here on Saturday. Everyone else in the room was the lucky recipient of their wonderful attitudes.
My challenge for you this week is to try putting on your ‘fascinator’ attitude at a few events you will attend. Take time to notice the effect it has on you, on others and on the event itself.
I hope you have a fascinating week!