Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Small things

My son seems to know when my moods are down. His bear hugs are the reward for the nights spent in the glider chair, rocking him back to sleep when he was a baby. My two daughters clean up around the house, knowing that when I walk through the door, it makes me feel better just knowing that there is some order around the house; no doubt a generous return of a few small motherly moments of taxi cab service, meals and laundry. I hope their memories of me will always bring smiles. It’s hard being in the midst of small things, completely cheerful all the time; and that is where my husband comes in- he’s provided miles and years of small thoughtful things. So despite my mood swings, they are always there for me. I think my patron saint, Therese, would be scolding me right now, knowing that it’s only in the smallness of being, that we find real love.

That’s nothing really and yet it’s everything. The small things add up to days and months and years of small great things that when the sum of them is counted at the end of the audit, a treasure is revealed; of sacrifice and love. It’s easy to buy someone something-a card or token of affection that says ‘I love you’, but it’s the day to day that counts in the end. It’s the getting up every day and going to work, day after day, year after year that says from a parent to a child “You matter and I am taking care of you.” It’s making meals, folding socks, driving hither and yon, listening. I don’t do all these things well, but I try. I certainly appreciate the amazing women in my life, my mom, my sisters, my aunts and my grandmothers, first setting the example for me; they are legends. I trudge along after them hoping to fill in part of their footprints.

I am a person of relative insignificance, except that I matter to my husband and kids and they show this to me every day in small ways. I don’t need to be famous, perfect or satisfied; I think I’ve always just wanted to be needed and in that, I have all that is necessary and every good thing. I have a few close friends who have stuck with me, despite myself and my failings. I tend to wander to and fro from this to that, disappointed when I miss my mark but keenly aware of where I fall short. Self-deprecating, is how an acquaintance described me last year and she’s right. Call it meno-maudlin-madness, I fit in and yet I don’t anymore. I wish I could skip this middle part and jump to the wisdom and insight of my parents and grandparents who don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. It’s hard to look back and look ahead at the same time, wondering to myself, “Will the small things be enough?”

So on the sunny side of things, this is a typical Thursday; yet it’s not. It’s Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday; probably one of the most hopeful days of the year besides Easter Sunday. I will go to church with my family tonight and try to straighten this all out before Easter, this ‘out of sorts- funk’ I’ve been in, and when Sunday comes, it will be better. I know this because some things are just reliable, like the love of a husband of 20 years and three of the greatest kids ever. The narcissus bloomed last month, right on time, their little yellow heads popping up to say hello, having been planted in secret by my Dad and youngest daughter three years ago, the year that literally changed my life. It’s funny that they planted them right where I would see them, next to the front walkway steps, next to the front porch. I think that Pop planted those with Birdy for her benefit, doing a small thing with and for his granddaughter. I don’t think those two realize or know how much those flowers mean to me, when I see them pop up every year; they are small reminders of people I love and in the smallness of them, I know why I am here.

Happy Easter!

Tammy Maher is a columnist for the Mt. Democrat. You can reach by email at familyfare@sbcglobal.net or on the web at www.familyfare.blogspot.com