Little things. I get caught up in them sometimes. Little, insignificant things that don’t feel so little at the time. You know what I mean…a bad hair day, a child who won’t learn to pick up his dirty socks from the living room, yet another layer of snow that needs to be shoveled or blown. And I get caught up in aggravation or frustration or anger or self-doubt or whatever the situation seems to call for in my mind at that moment.
And then sometimes something comes along and smacks me in the proverbial head and makes me re-evaluate everything.
I remember a couple of years ago, I was at a writers’ conference. My face had broken out (because, you know, I’m 42 years old and my beloved hormones insist on masquerading as a 15-year-old teenage boy at times), and I was feeling self-conscious. Hello, vanity! My precious face had a blemish!
So I ran into a good friend of mine in the hotel and she asked what had happened, because it looked like a cat had gotten a claw in me or something. And I explained the above, feeling like an insecure adolescent. And then as we chatted and caught up, my friend, who has fought numerous (we’re talking double digits) battles with cancer, mentioned that her tumor marker numbers had skyrocketed again and when the conference was over, she’d be starting yet another round of chemo and treatement. Suddenly I saw how lucky I was that my problem was a stupid, inconsequential mark on my chin.
Thank you, reality check.
And I had another reality check today. My son’s 5th grade basketball team, which my husband and I coach, lost their game in a fairly ugly fashion. It was a double letdown because we’d just come off 2 wins over tough teams last weekend, and some of the guys were visibly upset today. After the game, one of the moms smiled at me and said, “Thank you.”
(Side note: I never know what to say when parents thank me for being the assistant coach.)
So back to the mom. I smiled and said something like, “Wish it could’ve gone the other way.”
And the mom, whose 11-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer one year ago yesterday and had surgery on it one year ago tomorrow, said something along the lines of “It’s a little thing.”
Losing the game is such a little, inconsequential thing, because her son played basketball today.
He ran up and down the court and took a shot and guarded his guy. He got tired, but not nearly as tired as he got at the first practice of the season. Things are looking up for her boy, and hopefully their family’s big, scary thing is becoming a thing of the past as they continue toward healing and good health.
I wish like hell that neither of these families were suffering such scary health issues. Wish the “bad stuff” didn’t exist and that I didn’t need it to remind me how lucky I am. But it does and I did, and it makes me count my blessings and hope with everything I’ve got that both these families will soon be carefree and worried only about little things instead of big, scary ones. And it gives me a reminder daily that the vast majority of day-to-day disappointments and aggravations are, indeed, “little stuff.”