Column: Tiny moments, tiny days and tiny stories too small to tell

  • C.S. Hammond photograph

For the Valley News
Saturday, April 20, 2019

When you have little children, everything becomes small. Everything is little. Small days filled with staying home together, passing hours reading little books, singing little songs.

Pointing out the tiny things in life: The light switch goes on, the light goes off. The door opens, the door closes.

Little days when we go grocery shopping and get the oil changed, forget the eggs, forget the reason we went to the grocery store ... same little tracks and routes in the Upper Valley, getting what we need, filling time, small hours.

And then the time condenses even more, so that the tiniest of hours is when you are a sleeping child. Those are the smallest hours of them all, gone before they have begun.

And it is just ... little, a little life revolving around a little person, and everything is small.

The time I spend away from you is small. The time I spend away from you without missing you is even smaller. The clothes that used to fit me are small, too tight on a body that still feels like maybe it belongs to someone else, as tiny hands reach for me, always reaching for me.

And so then how do I help you have a big life when ours together is so small?

What is a big life for you? What is a big life for me? Traveling in foreign countries alone, is that big?

But then when you go, wherever you go, there you are ... same small you coming along, meeting you there, same small you.

When you get big does your life get big too? Then why is my life so little?

Tiny moments, tiny days. When someone asks, “What did you do today?” and I can answer in one sentence: “We went to the grocery store.”

The tiny little things — the pillow fort on the floor, the Cheerios in a cup, the endless books we read and looked at, the walks we take — those don’t get told. They are too small to tell.

How do I give you a big life when ours together is so small? Laundry while you sleep, cooking dinner while you play in the pots and pans.

Will you even remember any of these tiny days? Is it OK that my life is now all these little things, little days, filled with little you? Why did I go to college for this? Or graduate school?

Why did I reach for a big life not knowing what that meant when it is now filled with little you?

The love is not little. The joy is not little. The exhaustion is not little ... and soon you won’t be either. Now are the little hours filling our little days together, and when you are grown and busy and gone, I will have to fill my hours without little you. And I think I will miss this more than all the big lives I could have had.

C.S. Hammond lives in Hartland. She can be reached at cshammond36@gmail.com.