by C.J. Schneider
The other day my friend and I were at our local pool hanging out in the hot tub. We were not hanging out there because we had just swum a million laps and were trying to relax our exercised muscles. No, we went there to hang out because last week I slipped on some ice and threw my back out and that was the only place I could imagine sitting while catching up with my friend.
My friend's back is perfectly fine but the fact that she went from having two kids to four with the happy arrival of twin boys means that she is constantly tired as she slogs through living in a foggy haze of life, experiencing a lot of it in angry survival mode.
As we sat in the warm frothy water, my friend brought up the fact that her life wasn't everything she thought it would be. When we're young we look at adult destination points and dream of how wonderful life will be when we get there. I think what we don't look at so closely is the paths that get us there. We don't see that the journey to those incredible places are fraught with disappointment, pain, monotony and more. When I was young and I pictured myself having children I certainly didn't think about how my bathroom would constantly look like a vagrant moved in with the waft of urine always lurking somewhere. I didn't think about how my back would suffer from hunching over so many years while I spent hours picking up kids, toys and looking down at my small children. I certainly had no idea how much cleaning would be involved....I hate how much cleaning is involved.
What is so striking to me is that for every moment you have where you get to feel a euphoric "I made it!" there lies before and after that moment a million other moments that feel nothing like euphoria. They mostly feel like work.
So this is what I want to say about those million other small moments that do not bask in any extraordinary glory, the ones that smell of urine, sound like whining and can many times feel so very painful - those small moments are not that small at all.
Women have a regal heritage of understanding the power and potential in seemingly small things. For thousands of years women have looked at the smallest of babies and have seen greatness. Women cheer at the first little step, the first little words - not because the step or the word itself are amazing but because they are the glorious humble beginnings of a lifetime of steps and a lifetime of words. Neil Armstrong would not have stepped onto the moon if it hadn't been for his first tiny step and Maya Angelou's gift of words to the world all began in a little word spoken by a precious little mouth.
This, somehow, is so easy to forget. It is so easy to look at your small days, doing seemingly small things and see yourself as small as well. I write this mostly as a desperate reminder to myself, to see the small things in my life with the greatness that small things can hold because in the end, life is nothing more than a stream of a million small moments.
So now I'm going to stop writing and go taste my son's attempt at a smoothie because my little three year old is clasping her small hands and in a small voice is saying excitedly "come mommy, come taste!" And I will enjoy this small moment.
(My friend wrote her feelings about this idea here:)