“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
– Andy Warhol
(Let me start this blog with a disclaimer to my child. No, Kelly – this is not a tribute to One Direction and their song of the same title. Sorry, kid.)
Ok. Back to business.
I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently. Especially over these past few days. A variety of “little things” have seemed to catch my attention more lately than they might normally do.
I went to visit my grandparents in the nursing home this past weekend. They have both been recently admitted after battling pneumonia and, unfortunately, the prognosis is not a great one for my 96-year-old grandfather. Thankfully, they have been placed in the same room so they can spend this time together, although my grandmother’s failing memory makes it hard for her to understand what is happening. But even with his sickness, and her failing memory, they both periodically asked about the other and looked over to be sure the other was still there. To me, that was beautiful. A glance to make sure the one you love is still by your side? Yes, a little thing in the grand scheme. But so very beautiful.
Also, while I was there, it was mentioned that my grandmother’s fingernails needed cutting and she hadn’t been able to do it herself. So, I cut them. Cutting your aging grandmother’s fingernails? Definitely a little thing. But it meant something to me. In my tiny little way, I was able to help. Little things.
I watched my cousin Amy feeding my grandfather.
Putting a spoon to someone’s mouth when they aren’t strong enough to do it on their own? Yes, maybe a little thing. But is it so little? I think not.
Aside from the trip to visit my grandparents (and possibly because of it), other little things started catching my attention as well.
The man I love, for instance.
Now, for those of you don’t know us personally, let me start by explaining something. I am in love with the quietest man alive. It’s true. The spoken word is not his speciality. One of his favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Smart man. Me, on the other hand? I never shut up. We are the proverbial Mutt and Jeff of verbal communication. Well, in public anyway.
But for the past few days, I seem to be “hearing” him much more clearly than I ever have before.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that he is letting me borrow a vehicle until I can get the insurance mess sorted out from my wreck and can get a new one. Earlier this week, the vehicle started overheating a little. So, what does he do? Gives me his own truck to drive to work so that he can keep it and check to see what’s wrong. He then fixes it and returns it – with new windshield wipers to boot because it was a rainy day. Little things? Maybe.
After dinner one night while the kids played together, I was overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of exhaustion. Usually I immediately start clearing the table after we eat (he cooks, so it’s the least I can do), but instead I asked if he’d mind if I went and laid down for a bit. Not only did he not mind, but he came and laid with me. We both ended up falling asleep and my daughter got this sweet picture of us:
A nap together as a break from a busy day? A little thing? Maybe.
Another example – Mondays are hectic for me now. My daughter was cast as Annie in our local production and I am a chorus member. We have rehearsals on Mondays and she also has dance class on Mondays. It’s hard to be in all these places at the same time, mind you. So, what does that man of mine do? Helps. He picked her up from dance and brought her back to rehearsal so that I didn’t have to leave during chorus rehearsal. And this followed him keeping her for me over the weekend so I was able to visit my grandparents like I mentioned before.
I’m telling you. Pay attention. Those little things speak loudly if you train your ears to hear them.
A few more before I wrap up.
I ran 11 miles yesterday in honor of all who were affected by the Boston marathon bombings. It was my longest distance to date as a runner. I wore my printed-out Boston runner’s bib in tribute. While on the run, a fellow runner saw my bib as he was passing, and reached out and high-fived me. A high-five from a stranger? Definitely a little thing, but it sure had a big impact. (Before the run was over, I got a few car honks as well.)
Also – a new friend of mine who is an ultra runner celebrated my 11 mile run with me as if it were her own personal victory. Did I mention she’s an ultra runner? She has run in a 130-mile race. Yes, you read that right. One hundred and thirty miles. And she celebrated my 11 like it was the greatest thing on earth. Little things.
A random sweet text from my son; an email from a friend saying that my blog has inspired them to start running; getting chills while listening to a room full of little girls singing songs at a rehearsal for Annie….
I have to make myself stop. This list could go on and on and on.
And isn’t that awesome?
Take the time to notice them. They’re everywhere. All of these little things are what make this crazy ride called life worthwhile. Unfortunately, we are sometimes too busy to appreciate them. But we need to stop that. These may be the memories that fill our minds one day when we’re looking back on our past – the same ones that we might forget to give a second glance to in the present. So, stop. Look around. Hear the things that aren’t being said – see the things that aren’t so obvious. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Be alive.
Now, go make your list of little things.
“Half the joy of life is in little things taken on the run…
but let us keep our hearts young and our eyes open that nothing worth our while shall escape us.”
– Victor Cherbuliez