Little Things

December 11, 2012
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Have you ever heard the expression “It’s the little things that matter the most”? At first I had no idea this would ever apply to me; I only cared about big things usually. I was never the kind of person to break down every small detail and analyze it to see if it had a bigger meaning. I felt like it was a waste of my time. This way of life for me changed, however, on Christmas Eve of last year.
I had just finished eating dinner and, being the youngest in the family with no one to talk to, was observing all of my family members. Some were having serious discussions, while others were telling stories about how my aunt’s cat got lost in the neighborhood for the third time. Glasses were clinging, silverware was constantly being motioned up and down, and even the dog on the dining room floor had a sparkle in her eye for scraps of the last bits of Christmas Eve dinner. Watching all this was normal for me every year, but that year it meant more to me than any other Christmas Eve.
At the time, I had completed my first semester of high school. I was a freshman. A young, naïve freshman with one meaningful reminder in the back of her mind: only four more years in this town, four more years with my parents, and four more years of being able to have this experience. The experience of keeping the tradition of a Christmas Eve celebration at my aunt’s house alive, before the shadow of adulthood comes all too quickly. This reminder was something that I didn’t want to face, but that night at the dinner table it began to sink in. I continued to watch my family. The laughter, the smiles, and the sweet tears from laughing too hard filled the room with joy and happiness. I felt a sense of true family. I felt a sense of unity. I felt the obligation that night that now was the time to truly cherish these last four years as never before.
The little things I mentioned earlier, such as laughter, smiling, tears, and talking, are a part of ordinary life, but when you take a step back, you begin to realize how beautiful they truly are. They’re the things that drive us apart, or pull us closer together. They can change the world, or just change your mother’s mind of why she should let you go shopping. They can bring thousands together for a single cause, or simply can signal the end of a friendship. They have an ability to signal happiness, or the deep grief of the death of a loved one. But what is the best characteristic of these little things in life you may ask? They are powerful enough to change someone’s life, such as the little high school freshman at the dinner table one chilly Christmas Eve.

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