Have you heard your grandparents say it’s the little things in life that mean the most? I never fully got what they meant. I got ill aged 12 and it took me a while but I got it before my 14th birthday. The small gestures and snippets of time you will remember forever and after. I had to grow up faster than most to deal with the immense changes in my life. But this is the lesson I value the most. I treasure the time I’ve had with loved ones.
My Aunt sent me unexpectedly, a hot water bottle cover she had beautifully knitted. She enclosed a letter explaining she knew I got cold and how my late grandparents would’ve wanted to support me in my illness. That one simple thing meant the world to me then and still does now. I love that hot water bottle cover, not only for the warmth it brings but the hidden meaning. It feels like there is support in that inanimate object. Gestures mean the most sometimes.
With the limitations we all face, it is all too easy to get focused or absorbed on the big picture. The milestones missed and where we are going with our lives, or not going. But sometimes it’s vital to just take a step back and appreciate the good in that moment. I sometimes get more happiness out of a hot drink which I haven’t asked for than I thought possible. It’s possible to have the good and the bad.
There are times where reality crashes in and I have to just sit and cry about the sadness of missing out and not being able to reach my full potential. They happen. But without that sadness, I wouldn’t see the bright light in my day-to-day life.
I never wanted to end up bitter and miserable because of the severe limitations on my life. So, it’s my aim to try and sneak those good days in. This doesn’t change my nature to be a realist with cynical tendencies because that is I. I just try to acknowledge the people and the actions that make my day just that little better. Not sweating the small stuff is a battle that I fight and lose often. But in a way that’s good for keeping my focus on the good in the present. I have an unhealthy Costa obsession; I love the lemon tarts and hot chocolate. Just a couple of weeks ago my Mum came home with a mug of chocolaty goodness, how could you be mad when you have that presented to you?
Considering the wheelchair when I go out, sadly it’s the positive interactions I have that stick in my mind. From the brief encounter with someone getting up to hold the door open, to the people who start up a conversation but treat me like a standing person.
I’m adding another story in because it’s golden. The Friday before my birthday in the summer I’d gone to Waitrose for coffee and we had bought some candles for my cake. After leaving the bakery rather empty, we headed to the checkout. The cashier struck up a conversation with us as we packed our bags. Unbeknown to me he had asked my Mum who’s birthday it was. He buzzed the help bell and whispered to the woman who responded which I took no notice of really. He’d worked his way through all our shopping and asked us to wait for just a second for the woman to come back. She came back holding the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and handed them to the cashier. He then handed them to me and said “Happy Birthday, we’d like you to have these to celebrate the big day. You really deserve them.” I don’t shop in there weekly by any means I just pick up some things if I’ve gone to the café. He had remembered me from past visits and in with that act of kindness made that birthday all the more memorable.
To try and see the good you get from a less than ideal situation, for me makes it easier to get out of bed each day. I actively want to appreciate the silence after a busy weekend or the help I get to tidy my room or the great book I’ve just read. There’s always more good in our wide world than bad, even when at times, the devastation brought to many seems so widespread. We just have to find it.
Leave a comment on your little thing of happy or an act of kindness you’ll never forget.