Celebrating More, Comparing Less

Celebrate More, Compare Less

By the time I was 9 years old, my family had moved 6 different times and we had lived all over the state of Pennsylvania. The summer between my 3rd and 4th grade years, we moved to a small rural town, nestled in the mountains. It was idyllic, but we were the “foreigners” in a close-knit community.

Our extended family lived in places like Kalamazoo, Michigan and Washington, D.C., the Chicagoland area and Sun City Center, Florida. Time with family was precious, but it wasn’t a regular occurrence. Most holidays were spent with our immediate family, just the 5 of us.

Our first Memorial day in our new home, we received an invitation to a picnic. My sisters and I were bubbling with excitement! This was our opportunity to experience what it felt like to be surrounded by family. From our vantage point, this family was huge. There were aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, cousins twice removed, sisters, brothers and us. But it didn’t take long to feel like we were part of the family. Every Memorial day for the next 10 years looked exactly the same. We loved it. Our small family was welcomed into a huge one.

My family has one more member then the family I grew up in, but we are following a similar pattern. In our married lives, my husband and I have lived in 7 different homes. Our extended family lives in places like Kansas, Indianapolis, Alabama and Washington, D.C. Three years ago, we moved to Rochester, NY and we love it. It is the perfect place for our family.

I have found myself wanting my kids to experience the same Memorial day picnic traditions that I grew up with. But I am learning something. Memories and traditions are a beautiful thing, but sometimes they are simply meant to inspire, not to be duplicated.

As we celebrated those who have sacrificed for our country by going to a parade and then out for ice cream with friends and later with a small picnic with one of my long-time friends, my heart felt satisfied. My kids will have their own memories of holidays.

Our family motto for 2014 is “Celebrate More, Compare Less” and I was reminded of it yesterday. I have been working to fully embrace this concept and in the process I have been discovering the joy of being able to celebrate with others and not compare my own situation or circumstances to them (and thus diminishing my own joy- why do we do this?!!).  But yesterday, I was challenged with something new. I need to be careful to not compare our celebrations with my childhood memories. This is just as dangerous, as much a joy-stealer as comparing my life to others.

Celebrating more and comparing less means fully embracing the here and now and not trying to recreate or long for the past.

As I fell asleep last night and reflected on the day, I was filled with happiness. This happiness was not the result of MY own ideas of what a perfect Memorial day looks like. Rather, it was the result of having fully embraced the day.

…enjoying the gorgeous weather

…going for a run/bike ride with my kiddos

…clapping for men and women who have given so much for our country, for our freedom

…enjoying the company of many friends who have become like family to us

…working on my (lack of) softball skills

…buying an old bike for my daughter and watching her enjoy it (even though we will probably be pitching it, because the brakes don’t work!)

…watching my kids laugh and play with each other and with neighbor friends

…sharing one of our favorite summer time meals and sweet conversation with my friend

…reflecting on a beautiful weekend with friends and family

Photo: Perfect morning for a run/ ride! #fortybyforty

When I take a moment to consider and when I intentionally seek to celebrate and not compare, I am reminded of how truly blessed and beautiful my life is. Not because it is perfect. It’s not. But because I get to choose to celebrate the small moments.

And this is huge.

Celebrating more, comparing less.

Sometimes we ride the words with ease, bareback, and sometimes we must wrangle them like wild ponies. #notsosmallstories

Linking with the “Not So Small Stories” community hosted by my blogging friend, Kirsten Oliphant. Check it out!



  1. amandaconquers
    May 27, 2014

    I think I do this a lot: comparing to my own childhood. ” Memories and traditions are a beautiful thing, but sometimes they are simply meant to inspire, not to be duplicated.” I do this with homeschool because I wasn’t homeschooled and even with my husband expecting that he might be able to do the same family things my dad did with our family. Thanks for the gentle reminder.
    Also, Beautiful pictures… and that flag dessert looks fabulous!

    • Becky Daye
      May 27, 2014

      Expectations get me every time, Amanda! I find that I have to remind myself OFTEN not to allow them to cloud my appreciation for what is right before my eyes.
      The flag dessert was perfection! I usually make a jello cake with the blueberries and strawberries on top, but we are in serious need of healthy living in our family. This was a delicious compromise! 🙂

  2. Katie
    May 31, 2014

    I love that motto: “Celebrate more, compare less.” And what a good approach to family traditions. My husband and I don’t have children yet, but we’ve talked about needing to create our own rhythms and traditions, even though both of us love the ones we grew up with.

  3. Anita Ojeda
    May 31, 2014

    Oh! I LOVE your motto! I hate comparisons, yet I fall into that trap all too often. Thank you for the beautiful photos and for sharing a slice of your life (I can taste someone else’s slice of life and not compare–that’s a start, right?!).

  4. Laura Melchor
    May 31, 2014

    I love the insights you express in this post. It’s so easy to want to duplicate wonderful memories, but we have to remember that THOSE memories were not duplicated. Each moment is a gift in its own right. 🙂 Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kirsten Oliphant
    June 1, 2014

    “Memories and traditions are a beautiful thing, but sometimes they are simply meant to inspire, not to be duplicated.” <—-THIS. Yes. I loved this post. It made me think of all the things I want to create that can't be replicated.


Leave a Reply