my husband and i had a fight on christmas eve. as it inevitably does, it came round to me not being efficient, frittering away my life with no clear purpose and a lack of fire in my belly. it was a shitty fight, made worse by the wines i'd had with friends that afternoon/evening, which had made me slightly less than fully articulate.
i was super pissed with him for being so harsh and unable to see things from any perspective other than his own.
i also felt like a loser because there was some truth in what he said. i felt a bit lost. and unsuccessful. and wasteful. wondering if actually i was capable of achieving anything of note. i'm a perfectionist virgo who doesn't achieve as much as she could because nothing happens unless it's perfect. so not much happens. it's not conducive to efficiency or productivity.
we went to bed grumpy, the issue unresolved.
we woke up tentative friends (he delivered me coffee in bed), the issue still unresolved, and waited for our son to wake (usually unheard of but he was late to bed... see wine reference above).
our son woke. the christmas festivities began.
racer got... lots. cam got tops. i got byredo lil fleur. and then i opened a gift from my sister.
inside was a square doily that my great-grandmother had made. it had a perfectly symmetrical, very pretty border of leaves and flowers. The finish was impeccably neat and it would have taken hours of intricate hand stitching to complete. alongside good design, loads of creativity and a huge amount of patience and hand eye coordination. I'm guessing it was one of many made by her hands.
as i held it in my hand i thought about the fight the night before. my great grandmother hadn't done anything of 'significance', may or may not have been efficient, and possibly had no fire in her belly.
what she had done though was raised good kids who'd raised good kids.
she'd also made a pretty little doily that years later helped a woman in need.
holding that doily in my hand was all i needed. it made me feel good about myself and my achievements, or supposed lack thereof. it made me realise that not everyone hits it out of the park. that sometimes, if (materially) all you leave behind is a little doily, that's ok. because the smallest, seemingly most insignificant thing can and will help in ways you least expect. maybe not even til 100 years later. but that's fine, because humankind rolls on, and womankind keeps it rolling on.
my great grandmother had made, my mother had inherited, my sister had gifted. and as her card read, (i still can't read it without getting teary) "I thought this might be a good time to send you a special treasure from the women in your family, to fill your soul with the love and goodness of the amazing women we have come from".
my sister's gift, and my grandmother's work gave me clarity, made me feel connected to the sisterhood, and made me realise that's it's totally ok to not fill every single minute with worthy pursuits and productivity and striving for financial success.
that raising a good kid is a fucking great achievement. and a really enjoyable way to fill my time right now.
that maybe it's ok not to hit it out of the park right now.
that right now, raising a good kid is enough.
that the sisterhood, womankind, is really awesome.
and that where the magic lies, is in the little things.
i put myself under a lot of pressure to achieve big things and in doing so i forget to do the little things. which are actually the things which add up to the big thing. it's like i don't do the little things because they're little, and i want to do the big thing because that's what i want to achieve. but there is no big thing. great grandma's doily, mum's infinite love, catherine's kind actions, reminded me that life is a series of little things. little things we do, and little things we leave. the value is in the little things. it made me realise that one little thing does make a huge difference. on it's own, and collectively - as part of all the little things it takes to get to wherever you want to go.
so this christmas i learnt and wanted to share two things -
1. for me, alongside living with care and kindness and leaving the world with a good kid who can do good things, it's ok to leave something small. because somewhere down the line a small, frivolous 'doily' may be the one thing which helps a person.
2. it's the little things which are really important, especially in the long run.
and womankind? the best.
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