Do you “sweat the small stuff”?
My wife, Cheryl, and I spent the weekend in Hoffman Estates, Ill., celebrating our granddaughter Lexi’s 11th birthday.
How can she be 11 already? I sat this lanky “tween” on my knee and told her I remember when she was a little bundle of joy and we took her to church and I held her while she nodded off on my shoulder. It was as if a little angel had landed and fallen asleep there.
Now, she’s in sixth grade, played on her undefeated school volleyball team and is so absorbed in her electronic way of life that she seems to have too little time for Grandma and Papa, as she calls me.
On Saturday we took Lexi and her little brother, Remy, who turns 4 next month, to Lexi's favorite place for breakfast, IHOP. She spent the afternoon and early evening shopping with her mom, Grandma and a classmate. Then we had a little gathering with cake and ice cream back at her house.
At some point that night, I started looking at the books on a living room shelf and pulled out a small one with a familiar title: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff.”
I read it years ago and started doing so again. Each of the 100 chapters is just two or three pages. Reading the first few reminded me that I’ve too often ignored the lessons the book offers. I too often get caught up in the “busyness” of life, make to-do lists and fail to appreciate the small, simple pleasures in life.
“Learn to live in the moment,” it says on the back cover. “Do one thing at a time.” “Soften your most stubborn positions.” “Cut yourself some slack.” “Think of what you have instead of what you want.” “Ask yourself, ‘Will this matter a year from now?’”
I started getting reacquainted with those lessons and set the book aside, intending to bring it home (which I did). Lexi’s parents started playing Christmas music, picking various songs from various artists, through a laptop computer.
At times Lexi and Remy and Grandma danced around the room. Lexi’s mom and a family friend sat and sang many of the tunes. It was a joyous scene, and I started to relax and forget about how tired I was and how quickly midnight was approaching. I smiled often.
Our kids grow up too fast, and so do our grandkids. If you find yourself going through days getting frustrated by the smallest of annoyances, missing the joy that children can provide, step back and ask yourself: Will this matter a year from now?
Maybe, like me, you need to read and heed the lessons in “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…”