The Little Things
Have you ever noticed that when you look back on memories from your past, it’s actually the little things that come to mind first? Looking back on my life, I don’t see a collage of all my big memories. Instead, I see a flash of little things that seemed somewhat ordinary at the time. However, it’s those ordinary moments that turned out to be incredibly memorable.
When I met my husband, it wasn’t one big thing that caused me to fall in love with him. It was a million little things. He made me laugh, he opened doors for me, he was generous, and he made me feel safe. Once, he even picked me up and carried me over a puddle because I was wearing flip-flops on a rainy day.
When we started our family, once again, I’m reminded of little moments that became big memories in my mind. It’s the sweet newborn smells, the cuddles in the middle of the night, and the hilarious things they’d say to us. It’s not the huge milestones I see; it’s those little smiles and conversations that bring me such joy as I look back over the years.
Even when my sons were diagnosed with Duchenne, there’s not one particular moment that stands out. I remember the look on the doctor’s face when he knew something was wrong. I remember that first night after we found out and how my husband and I held each other, praying through our tears. I remember my oldest son saying, “This is just how God made me, mommy.” I can almost hear my kids playing and laughing in the background as I took that awful phone call confirming the news. Little moments like that flash through my mind even when I revisit the difficult times in my life.
When my brother died, I remember chasing my mom around the funeral to make sure she was eating, while my husband did the same to me. I remember my dad putting his arm around me as we watched a slideshow of his life. I remember my mom’s voice on the phone. Little things flash in my head.
Even acts of kindness sometimes seem small. The other day we went to a doctor’s appointment. I was handed the usual packet of paperwork to fill out, but there was only one set. I have two sons with Duchenne, so I’m used to two clipboards. The receptionist told me to fill it out and leave their names and birthdates blank. She said she’d copy it and then fill it out for me. Such a small thing, but it saved me so much time. “No one has ever done that for me before,” I said as I thanked her.
I remember one afternoon when I was particularly stressed. I was heading to visit a friend but running late after a hectic morning. Excited to see my friend and her new baby, I stopped to get us coffee. I rushed inside and got in line. I ordered, but when I went to pay, I couldn’t find my wallet. I canceled my order and turned to leave. I explained that I must’ve left my wallet in my workout bag at home. I apologized. I was so embarrassed as I walked away from the register. “Wait!” the two baristas shouted, “It’s on us today.”
They didn’t know my morning was difficult. They didn’t know my two sons had a degenerative disease. They didn’t know how many times I was up in the middle of the night helping them. They didn’t know how much I needed that coffee or what their kindness meant to me. As she handed me my order, the barista commented on how much she loved my name. “My name?” I asked, confused since my name is quite common. “My daughter’s name was Christi, but she’s in Heaven now,” she said sadly. We then shared our stories with tears in our eyes. We bonded over our sorrows. I will never forget that day, not because of a free coffee, but because of a divine moment that God used to bring two suffering women together. It seemed little at first, but I think of her often.
Even today, I find myself noticing the little things that surround me but make me smile. My son saying good morning to his little sister. My oldest son sweetly asking how I slept as I lift him into his power chair. My daughter running to change into a different shirt, one that matches her brothers’. A sweet text from my husband saying good morning and telling me he misses me. My mom texting to check on me. All little things that add up to a life full of love.
It’s never lost on me that I’m incredibly blessed, even during difficult times. Even as I sit here writing this. I’m listening to my favorite music, drinking coffee, and watching my kids eat lunch happily beside me. I think I can thank one of my favorite quotes for inspiring me to live this way. “Enjoy the little things for one day, you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
I want to always remember that nothing in this life is little. One kind act can change someone’s entire day. One considerate thing can shift someone’s perspective on life. So be kind, be loving, and be present. Cherish the moments that may seem little to you at the time, because I promise when you look back on your life, those are the moments that will stand out the most. The little things were never really little at all.