Joy In The Small Things

My daughter tied her shoes on her own for the first time after months of trying. She’s 4.5 years old going on 8 it seems. She’s a brilliant little girl that brings my wife and I immense joy.

I came home after work one day this week to an excited “dad, guess what I can do!,” which is a quite frequent statement in our household. She’s bursting with enthusiasm and is always eager to show dad what she can do now. Everything is so huge to her, and she’s keen to earn my approval no matter what it is she thinks is the most important thing that day. I do my best to lean into that enthusiasm and get excited with her, but like many, I don’t always get it right.

However, this time was different. She quickly rallied me, mom, and her bros to come and watch as she demonstrates her shoe tying ability. Of course, dad had to ready the phone to get the picture and the video to capture the moment and add that little extra pressure to get it just right. The many pros and cons of phone based photography.

Anyway, she got her shoe and started to tie it with immense concentration to get the shoe string looped just right and to get the other lace in place to make the circle around the formed looped. “She did it!,” we screamed and clapped as we celebrated this brilliant accomplishment.

It was great to see the joy that radiated from her soul as she realized a goal she’s been working towards for the past couple of months. We’re not sure if it was the goal of being able to tie her own shoes or the promise of a king sized candy bar being incentivized by her childcare teacher for any kid that can tie their own shoes. A candy bar is a dang good incentive, so who can be mad at that?

What seems like a small routine thing to many of us, it was a good reminder for me that someone is always triumphing over the small things that stand between where they’re at today and where they hope to be tomorrow. For my daughter, a whole new world just opened up as she inches one more step towards independence.

The small things in life are never meaningless. From my experience, the most important thing we can do every day to live the life we want and know is possible is to acknowledge the small things we did today that go along with the small things we did yesterday. One day, we’ll look back and say those smalls became the big thing that we’ve always wanted.

For me in this story, being fully present and choosing to celebrate with my family as we watched our daughter tie her shoes was the small thing I needed to do. I hope that small thing combined with many small things like it impacts the way my daughter sees my love for her when it really matters.

Today, we celebrate tied shoes!

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