There have also been acts of kindness from people known to me that have brought light into my life recently. There have been messages from past clients who checked that I was ok and offered help if needed. As one said, just returning the support received from you in the past. The fact that my bin men not only emptied my garden bin but also the bags of hedge trimmings lined up down the drive ready to be tipped into the bin once emptied. A short task, but one which really helped me and meant a lot as I didn’t have to do battle with getting the bags of holly and hawthorn clippings swapped from bag to bin!
I am not sure that everyone realises just what a huge impact such little things make. Just before lockdown, my son was visiting UK and he suggested we went to the theatre. Wow, I was thrilled. We met on the train into Manchester which was great as I didn’t have to be concerned about meeting up in a city with which I no longer feel familiar. We were going to see ‘Back to the Future’. We decided to go for a meal first. I said I would pay for that as he was paying for the theatre. But no, he insisted on paying. A double treat. I so loved spending the time sitting and chatting with him over the meal. The show was amazing – and I sincerely hope that it gets to re-open in the not too distant future for lots more people to enjoy. After, we rushed to the nearest station afterwards. Literally as we got up the stairs to the platform, the train pulled out. Probably due to me not being able to charge up the stairs as he had! So, we walked to the main station ahead of a long wait for a train we could both get on to. He refused to get on an earlier one, which I admit to being very grateful for, as a big station at 11pm is not a place this country bumpkin relishes. When our train arrived, I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing him again for a long time, though had no idea just what an experience the intervening months were to be. We arrived at his station – a quick hug and off he dashed onto the cold, wind-swept platform. As the train pulled out, I gazed out of the window and he was waiting at the top of the stairs, everyone else having descended. He stood and waved. As for me, I sat with tears running down my face. That simple act of his meant so much – even more than the earlier treats. That simple act of showing that he cared has been re-played by me many times over the past weeks. That little thing meant so very much.
LITTLE THINGS IN NATURE
To me, the little things in nature, the apparent minutiae, impress me just as much as the majesty of a huge elephant, a towering mountain range, an amazing sunrise or sunset. A friend shared these words on Facebook recently – ‘I awoke at 5.30 am to the golden glow of the summer Solstice sunrise. On opening our bedroom curtains I was treated to the wonderful sight of a pair of beautiful hares in the nearby field. I have never seen them there before. One of the hares shook itself to remove the dew from its fur.. a spray of droplets shimmered in the rising sun. Absolutely magical!’ I am obviously not the only one to notice and be impressed by those details that bring a scene to life. For me, a part of Mindfulness when I am gardening, or out walking is to notice and be awed by the tiny mosses, an individual floret making up a large showy flower. That single drop of rain taking its time to fall from a leaf. The detail of the beauty of nature is, as my friend says, absolutely magical.
LITTLE THINGS IN LOVE
Being in love and showing it isn’t only about grand gestures, expensive gifts. The little things can show a deep caring and tenderness which can be far more genuine and meaningful than things which come with a hefty price tag. The small touches, the loving glances, especially at difficult times. How I felt this when I had a call back following a mammogram. I was the only person on their own and I became so very aware of the little pats of reassurance, the squeezing of hands, the reassuring smile that passed between the others waiting to hear their news. A moment when my aloneness certainly swung over into loneliness as I tried to focus on flicking through a magazine.
Those little things can also be tell-tale signs of a relationship that is struggling. I admit to being aware of one such little thing, though the penny didn’t drop until some time after husband had packed and left one day whilst I was at work. Whilst recognising a small change, I didn’t put two and two together until I began studying body language some years later. Then it became a glaringly obvious sign of (for him) a changed relationship.
LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT TO CHILDREN
I love to remember, with great fondness, that my Grandad obviously loved me as much as I loved him. How I thought it was amazing that he lived with us. I used to bake from an early age. OK, if pastry making, I probably didn’t have the lightest of touches, but a lot of effort and love went into my baking and my Grandad would always take my jam tarts or buns (aka, these days, as cup cakes!) to work for his lunch. It was many years after he had died that I laughed about this with my Mum and suggested that he probably fed them to the birds in Piccadilly Gardens. No. She assured me that he certainly always ate them and that he also boasted to his colleagues that they had been made by me. The fact that he had taken them had meant a lot. The reminder of that and the assurance of them being eaten also meant a lot many years later. Double the value given to that little, caring action.
I carried such things forward to my own sons – I still have little things that they made as small children and always made sure that their baking efforts were seen to be appreciated. I have to say, though, that there was one notable exception to this. My son was going solo making a chocolate cake that he had previously made with me. It looked gorgeous. Sadly, however, he had added a whole tablespoon of salt to the batter rather than the half a teaspoon of the recipe. Sadly, the cake was inedible and he assured me that he would never ever cook again. Fortunately, a threat that has long been forgotten. I love it when he asks me for a recipe for something that I have made – or something that we used to eat when he was a child.
Dr Margery Rosen, in her article on parenting gives suggestions of thirty little things that mean a lot to children. I wonder how many of these you are using or used for your children, grandchildren, friends’ offspring? I certainly have had works of art on my wall for a long time – and recently, proudly displayed the rainbow given to me by my neighbour’s children. I would have found Dr Rosen’s tsunami suggestion a hard one to accept. A tsunami allowing you to close the door on the devastation of a child’s bedroom. Says she who swept up everything from my son’s bedroom floor and threw them out of the window onto him and his friends two floors below! I did make sure that there was nothing hard to hurt them. As for the constant wearing of dressing up clothes, ok’d by Dr Rosen, I remember my granddaughter insisting on dressing as wonder woman every day for weeks. The outfit was washed each night ready for action the following day. She was happy, and nobody was hurt, so what did it matter?
I round up in reminiscent mode with a link to a recording that I remember from 1954 by Alma Cogan – Little Things Mean a Lot. I remember all of the words, but have just spent ages trying to remember what I had used my contactless card on – only yesterday. OK, was my first trip out since early March, so I was delighted to be out but also somewhat apprehensive. My amazing tiny grey cells called upon to go into overdrive for a while there! Now there are some little things whose correct functioning means so very much to us!