As most of you know, Christmas this year looked a little different for everyone. My husband and I decided to take our children to visit their grandparents who live nearly an hour away for a short visit. Prepped with double masks and hand sanitizer, away we went. Once we arrived, pleasantries were exchanged and gifts were unwrapped. Shortly after, my father decides to bring me his retirement/pension paperwork to help him fill it out. Of course, the HR employee inside of me jumped up and said “of course!” while the daughter inside of me thought “Uh oh, I have left my husband all alone with his outspoken, sharp-tongued mother-in-law.” Not in the best health herself, I decided to roll with it and move forward.
The small things in life aren’t really all that small. They’re the things that make life real. Takes your happiness to a whole new level. Keeps you from feeling lost in an empty world.
We try so hard but we’re only human. We can’t help it. We’re always on the run. Always trying to meet expectations. To label you as rose and not the thorn.
But when you find something that makes you forget it all; A passion, a hobby or even alcohol that pulls you through the tragedies that befall, then how can you label that something as small?
Something that makes you live in the now. Something you connect with without any vows. Something that you think the world of. Something that gives you meaning of love.
We only have one life. One chance to do it all. To do everything that we want, to enjoy living to the fullest. So why are we wasting it on the worries of tomorrow? Especially when we know that worrying isn’t gonna change anything at all. Most of the things we worry about end up not happening at all. All worrying about tomorrow does is steal away your present. So why don’t we live in the now instead and leave tomorrow’s worry for tomorrow?
As we grow and develop, we learn how to identify with many labels or roles, such as daughter/son, aunt/uncle, mother/father, and grandmother/grandfather, to name a few. It seems as though our stories are written before we are born to conform to these labels. In a way, these roles become rituals that comfort us as we agree to them and even expect our lives to go “as planned” based on our social codes and blueprints for survival.
I know I certainly expected my life to unfold much like my mother’s life did with marriage and family. She had seven children, and being the second oldest and oldest girl, I was able to help with all the babies she had. It never occurred to me that I would never be able to have my own children. Little did I know that my helping her at the ages of 9 and 10 with my youngest siblings would be my only times to experience at least part of what a mother does for her kids. I am not sure I appreciated this time because as much as I loved playing mommy, I also wanted to be with my friends.
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Meet little Mialy, Mia, and their father…known simply as Baba. They—along with 15 other siblings—made up my host family during a time spent in the arid region of southern Madagascar, where I was doing research on the Antandroy communities.
I often think back to this family with bittersweet fondness. When I was there, I was profoundly inspired by their love for life and their appreciation of the simple joys it brings…while endlessly cheered by their wide grins and generous laughter.
But now, when I glance at this photo, their visage seems to reveal a truth much deeper…and my heart aches a little.
Nevertheless, the sound of their laughter will remain with me forever, and I am thankful to have met them…and grateful for the lessons they taught me in treasuring the simple moments in life.
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Founded in 2013 by Phoebe Chi, MD, PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry is a health information and literary arts website that aims to inspire, empower, and educate through a curated mix of essential health information, uplifting personal stories, and original poetry.