24: It’s in the Little Things

24: It’s in the Little Things

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive


It’s in the Little Things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

It was one of those days when there was way too much to do. I had fallen behind in most of my household chores. I hadn’t been to the grocery store in nearly forever and we were out of pretty much everything. The laundry was piled up well above the tops of the hampers and the house was stretching even my reasonably loose standards of cleanliness. And besides all that, I had two article deadlines and needed to spend some serious time at my computer.

All of that, and my four children were on a break from school. They were thrilled to be home and asked me repeatedly how we would spend their day off.

They were going to be disappointed with my plans for the day. There was absolutely nothing fun about them. Nothing special, nothing school break-worthy at all.

The kids woke up that morning, expecting their usual bowls of cold cereal. But we were out of milk, and my kids hate dry cereal. There were no eggs and no bread, which left few breakfast options. I searched through the freezer, hoping for a box of frozen waffles. No such luck. I rooted around in the fridge, finally finding a tube of buttermilk biscuits. I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar, baked them, and gave them to the kids.

“I’m sorry that I can’t offer you anything better this morning, but I haven’t had time to go shopping,” I said. The kids didn’t bother responding. They were too busy shoving my makeshift cinnamon rolls into their mouths.

After breakfast, I started a load of laundry and sat down at the computer. My youngest daughter, Julia, walked toward me, wearing her I’m-about-to-whine face. “But, Mommy, I thought we were going to do something fun today,” she said. “Since it’s our day off from school.”

“I know it’s your day off, but it’s not Mommy’s day off,” I explained. “I have work to do.”

“Can you play a game with me?” she begged. “Like Candy Land? Or beauty shop?”

I sighed. I really didn’t have time to play. I desperately needed to get some work done. But then I had an idea. “Can we play beauty shop while I work?”

So I got my article done, and my toenails painted at the same time.

My oldest, Austin, volunteered to fix lunch so I could keep working. The younger kids were thrilled with his selections. Not exactly the choices the food pyramid people advise, but the kids had fun and I met my writing deadlines.

Shortly after lunch, we made the trek to the grocery store. Austin pushed the cart, while the younger kids collected coupons from the little dispensers scattered throughout the store. I got what I needed—with a few additions from my entourage, of course.

Back at home, the kids decided to play “grocery store” with the coupons they had collected during our trip. They lined up the canned goods on the kitchen counters and the snacks on the island and pretended to re-buy our groceries.

For the remainder of the afternoon, I cleaned house, folded laundry, and started dinner. The kids continued with their game until my husband, Eric, walked through the door.

He spotted me and grinned. “So how was the kids’ big day off today?”

I began to explain that we hadn’t done anything special because I’d been too busy with chores. But the kids interrupted me.

“Daddy, did you see Mommy’s toenails? She let me sit under her computer desk and paint them while she typed!” Julia said. “It was so much fun!”

“And, Dad, we had the best breakfast today,” said Austin. “Have you ever made those special biscuits for Dad? They were awesome!”

Eric gave me a questioning look and all I could do was shrug. My two middle kids, Jordan and Lea, piped up to tell their dad about the coupon game and Austin’s special lunch. “We had such a great day today, Dad! It was a blast!”

I looked at my children’s faces. They were lit up with excitement. Excitement about makeshift cinnamon rolls, a most unhealthy lunch, coupons from the grocery store, and painted toenails.

“You guys really had a good day? You’re not disappointed that we didn’t do something fun?” I asked.

Austin shrugged and said, “Life is only as fun as you make it, Mom.”

I nodded, realizing how right he was. Happiness is far more about our attitude than our circumstances.

I hugged my kids and thanked them for reminding me to look for happiness in the little things.

Julia smiled and said, “And the little things that make you the happiest are us, right, Mommy?”

Wow, my kids sure are smart.

~Diane Stark

More stories from our partners