Monday, August 26, 2013

Thankful for the small things

When I came home from church yesterday my mom and I were talking about how one of the reasons I was able to question the fundamentalist evangelical church I attended as a child is my aunts Julie and Cindy would openly defy the rules and give me things I wasn't allowed to have. (background my mother stayed in the church largely due to my grandparents influence and the fact we lived with them and/or by them).
On my 6th birthday my aunt Julie decided to get my ears pierced. My mother didn't object she just pretended not to know so my grandmother would yell at my aunt and not her. It was a full 2 days before my grandmother noticed and then all hell broke loose. She insisted my mother remove them and let my ears heal and my mother simply said "no she likes them and they aren't hurting anything". Thus I got to keep my earrings.
Julie also bought me my first pair of pants that year, turquoise blue sweatpants with white strips on the sides. I LOVED those pants! I couldn't wear them in public because I wasn't allowed but I hated taking them off. I wanted to wear them everyday even under my ankle length prairie dresses. In fact I wore them all the time for two years. The poor things had been patched so many times they were clearly rags and they were almost the length of walking shorts.
One may wonder why pants were so meaningful to a six year old girl but I remembered as I sat talking to my mother what I felt when I put them on. I felt free! Free to play and do things I had sat and watched other kids do but I couldn't because they weren't "ok for girls to do". Pants meant I could climb on monkey bars and flip upside down on the swing. Wearing pants meant I didn't have to constantly worry about how I was sitting. I could just be a kid, play and have fun.
My aunt Cindy understood this because at her house she often threw me in my cousin Jason's clothes and sent me out to play. Then I could get dirty, run, tumble, and just BE without worrying about that stupid bulky skirt getting in the way.
In this moment of reflection I remembered how thankful I was for such small things. How joyous those that seemingly small change felt. Often when I am doing the work I do I have to remember that "small things" matter. Many times your small things are really big things to the people who receive them.