By Melissa Stefanec MelissaStefanec@yahoo.com
Words are powerful. They can hurt and heal. They can discourage or inspire — create or destroy.
Throughout our lives, we are impacted by the things people say to us. Perhaps ironically, some of the most impactful things people have said to me weren’t intended to be impactful. Sometimes, things uttered with very little intention end up spurring me to deep introspection.
I recently found myself in that very situation; a situation where someone said something small that I turned into something big. I had just picked up my son from school and we started talking about his day. He shared one of the best parts of his day. I asked him if it was amazing. He quickly responded, “a little amazing.”
A little amazing. I’m sure he didn’t mean to drop a wisdom bomb as I raced home to make my next work meeting. He didn’t mean to give me something to think about for days. He was just trying to lightly rein in my enthusiasm and tell me something was good, but not the best thing ever.
Whatever his intentions, I’ve been walking around thinking about what “a little amazing means.” What aspects or moments of my life are a little amazing? There aren’t a lot of things that rightfully earn the amazing label. Yet I’m often looking for life to amaze me.
Perhaps, that’s a folly. Truly amazing moments are so infrequent and ephemeral. Chasing them isn’t going to bring any lasting satisfaction. Perhaps I should be looking to the frequent, small joys in my life. To that end, here are some situations I’ve found to be a little amazing.
Little amazing things in my life
• Singing along to a song with my kids — Whether it’s one of my favorites or theirs, singing a song together gives us all something to smile about. When you think about it, singing together is a way to celebrate being alive. These moments of celebration are a little amazing.
• Getting a random “I love you” from my kids — My kids are 8 and 11, so the “I love yous” come a little less frequently than they once did. They are also more meaningful. These days, when my kids pause to say “I love you,” I know it’s because they are truly feeling love. That’s a little amazing.
• Having my kids share something difficult — I strive to be the sort of parent that my children can bring their problems to — even the tough ones. When my kids trust me enough to share something that hurt or scared them, that trust and vulnerability isn’t something I take for granted. Earning their trust and helping them through a rough spot is a little amazing accomplishment.
• Playing a family game and belly laughing — We play a lot of board games in our house. We’re often drawn to silly board games. My kids have been known to say some pretty ridiculous things. They can amuse anyone, young or old. We often laugh so hard that we roll around on the ground. These moments of comedic relief are a little amazing.
• Hearing my kids enjoy each other’s company — With my kids being three years apart in age, they have been known to bicker. However, they often play very nicely together. They make up intricate fantasy games. Hearing the two of them fuel and enjoy each other’s creativity is a treat. When they play and work together, it’s a little amazing.
• Knowing my son can beat me in a sprint — When my son was a toddler, he would literally run toward whatever interested him. Even in those days, he was hard to catch. Now that he is 8, I can barely beat him in a sprint. Having my child overtake me physically is mindblowing. Hopefully, he continues to best me for the rest of my days. Watching him advance is a little amazing.
• Knowing my daughter’s art is putting mine to shame — My family takes “prestigious” drawing lessons via a popular video-streaming app. We each have a drawing notebook and often sit down to draw together. I’ve never been good at drawing, but my daughter’s talents are quickly surpassing mine. Sometimes, when we finish whatever silly thing we are drawing, it’s hard to tell who drew which one. Her growing talents are a little amazing.
• Watching my kids be fascinated by nature — We spend a lot of time outside. Throughout my children’s entire lives, I have paused and asked them to observe nature with me. Whether it’s a plant, a tree, a rock, an insect, an amphibian or the way water catches the sunlight, I’ve raised my kids to try to find the wonder in the natural world. As they grow up, I still catch them wondering at nature’s small beauties. Catching them in that reflection is a little amazing.
• Getting everyone in bed on time — By the time our family crazy train is rolling into slumber station, there have been numerous delays and obstacles. I believe in the power and importance of sleep, and my kids know they need to get to bed on time, especially on school nights. When we actually get into bed on time and are relaxed, it’s a little amazing.