The dizzying mix of commemorations and holidays that we’ve celebrated over the last week has left me to contemplate my present and my past.
World Refugee Day made me wonder if the xenophobia I’ve seen toward asylum seekers is a permanent condition or a temporary shift. Juneteenth made me ask myself if slavery had actually ended, or if it had morphed into the caging of migrant children at the border. Father’s Day, however, was a different kind of holiday, because Father’s Day gave me nothing other than joy.
No one called collect. I got cards from all three of my children. My wife made me breakfast and bought me gifts. Then she treated me to a trip to Ocean City, where I watched my son catch waves on a boogie board and taught my daughter to throw a spiral.
I rode a roller coaster, ate pizza, spooned ice cream and told jokes, and then, near the end of our outing, I walked into a coffeeshop to buy a cup for the long ride home. Sitting there, above the counter, was a plaque with these words:
Enjoy the little things in life, for some day you will realize they were the big things.
That plaque, of course, was right. Because there are always big things, like surviving a presidency steeped in chaos, or finding $33 million in missing city funds, or stopping the mass shootings, or convincing people that voting is a matter of life and death.
The big things are always there, and we can chip away at them if we’re committed to change.
But the little things, well, those are the things we remember when we look back on our lives.
I’ll give you an example. We asked my daughter the other day what she remembered about me when she was little.
She didn’t talk about the book release parties or the awards. She didn’t talk about being featured in Essence or being filmed for a Verizon ad campaign. She didn’t talk about hearing me on the radio or watching me on TV.
She said she remembered when I jumped rope with her in the backyard. Those are the kinds of things that stick with us. Not the accolades and recognition of strangers, but the moments with the people we love, the simple things in life that give us joy.
More and more, I find myself appreciating the little things, like walking into my home, or driving my car, or sitting on my couch, or sleeping in my bed. I remember when I had none of those things, and I’m grateful to have them now.
I love little things, like watching my wife get ready in the morning and realizing she’s the most beautiful woman in the world to me. I look forward to little things, like going to watch my son play sports and cheering him on to win. I anticipate little things, like listening to my daughter tell a story and laughing as she ends it with a joke. I welcome little things, like drawing one more breath or seeing one more sunset.
That plaque was right. Some day we’ll all realize that the little things in life were the big things. I’m grateful that for me, some day is now.
You can hear Solomon Jones weekdays 10 a.m. to noon on Praise 107.9 FM