A festive spirit goes a long way: 40 in forty

"Mama, you are always up for a party," Oliver said to me as I prepped for our Academy Awards fete last month. 

"Right you are, Ol," I replied, pleased that he's noticed. "A festive spirit makes life more fun."

I attribute a great deal of my spirit to having grown up in Louisiana where pretty much anything --from birth, marriage, and death- are cause for some sort of celebration. I think there's much to be said about a place where parties are thrown so regularly and where even the saddest funeral is lightened with laughter over fond, shared memories at one point or another. Second lines, wakes, weddings, Mardi Gras, Christmastime, all infused with music, food, drink and a varying degree of fancy dress...well, suffice it to say that Louisiana is an animated place.

It is also true that I've always enjoyed bringing people together and that doing so causes me no worry or stress. Mom used to pay me to worry for her before parties she threw; easiest job I ever had because the preparation didn't vex me in the slightest.

There are moments in which I've regretted planning a party, or felt overwhelmed by the timing of it, but I've never lamented actually carrying through with the plans.

I've also found that a merry nature can make the dullest meeting more pleasant, enable me to get to know others in ways I might not otherwise, and make less major moments feel special and joyful. Half-birthdays, a random Tuesday, you get my drift. This spirit of embracing and celebrating is something I try hard to pass on to my boys. I think they're doing a fine job so far.

Life is hard, the weeks can feel awfully long, and sometimes all it takes is popping a cork-of champagne, wine or sparkling apple cider- and using stemware or asking a few friends over for dinner or channeling your inner kid to bring some needed lightness to it all.

Time spent laughing is never time wasted. And joy shared is a lovely gift for all involved.

 Ol's 7th birthday party was today

Ol's 7th birthday party was today

 His character name was Darth Leprechaun. I do NOT worry about this kid's spirit.

His character name was Darth Leprechaun. I do NOT worry about this kid's spirit.

 Ol's Pot of Gold cake

Ol's Pot of Gold cake