Good friends of ours recently had a baby. As we are friends on Facebook as well as in real life, it’s been an amazing, heart-warming experience to watch their daily postings of experiences and photos as they journey through their baby’s first days and weeks.
Yesterday however, our friend posted this page from a book, which when I clicked through to the photo, attributed it to “William Martin – from “The Parents Tao Te Ching.”
When I read what the page said, I immediately wrote and told her I loved it, but the words stayed with me all day.
As parents who are now more than a decade into this journey, these words really resonated with me. I have always found that making a big deal out of the little things in life not only taught our kids an appreciation for those small things, but also gave us a new appreciation for them. Additionally, it made those things seem extraordinary and we always joked that in many senses of the word, we did in fact, make mountains out of molehills.
And, as this page in the book says, the extraordinary things do in fact, take care of themselves, for as often as we’ve made a big deal out of enjoying small things, we’ve had some pretty big things happen as well.
I look at our summer vacation months as a perfect example. When people say to us, “Oh do you have big plans for summer,” or something like that, I always say “No, nothing much,” but I clarify that the time goes by and the days fill up and before we know it the summer has passed. I look at our Summer Timeline as an illustration of just how many exciting events do fill our summer, but yet they’re simple pleasures, things like packing up homemade dinners to eat on the beach, bike rides nearby, night time walks through our neighborhood with flashlights, lemonade stands in our driveway that cause a traffic jam in the street, or visits to free events and happenings that take place throughout the summer. None of the things we do are generally costly or “exciting” at first glance, but they are priceless in experience and prove to be memorable for our family. They provide us with together-time, first and foremost, but they also provide us with an appreciation for the little things around us. And at the end of the summer, our timeline is full, wrapped around two walls of our living and dining room and we love nothing more than to look back on those days as fall begins.
Our February vacation week is another perfect example. We generally plan nothing that week other than the yearly eye exams or dentist appointments. But yet, by Friday, we’ve had a full week with a playdate here or there, a family dinner out maybe, or a movie. A good friend said to me this year, “You guys really know how to fill up a week!” And she’s right, leaving our week as a blank canvas really let us fill it with whatever came our way with no expectations to reach for. Nothing big, nothing expensive, and yet everything was fun, (other than the dentist,) but at the end it was hard to decide which thing we’d done had been the most fun of all.
Yesterday in church, part of our priest’s sermon included a challenge to us, to think about the lenses through which we view the world, and as part of his talk, he spoke about thinking of how we’re viewing the little things and making sure we don’t miss those little things as life goes by.
I hope that as our friends continue on their journey as a new family of three, that they too, get a new appreciation all of the little things in life as they show their little one life through their lenses. I hope that they too will enjoy making mountains out of molehills for their daughter as she grows. I know that it’s been a valuable practice for us as parents and I know that our kids have a true appreciation for the little things in life as well.
It’s like the age-old saying, “Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make all the difference.” It’s true. It’s the little things that are the most priceless of all.