It’s The Little Things, Y’all

It’s the little things. It’s a perfect day.

I mean, if I were to describe how gorgeous it is outside right now, I’d use every cliche in the book. My description would be flowery and overwrought, like a Hallmark card or the poetry I wrote when I was 19.

We have a gorgeous Japanese willow in front of our house. The flowers are just now blooming.

I can tell because my nose has been running like a faucet for days. Once the two gigantic pine trees in the back yard start releasing their tree splooge, our deck will look like it’s covered in cornmeal and my allergy medicine is going to be put to the test.

That willow tree, you guys, we should really remove it. The trunk is only about a foot from the house and the branches press up against the window and get in the gutters. But it’s so pretty. And now? On this perfect day?

The blossoms look like they have gold dust sprinkled on them. The clouds look like the clouds from The Simpson’s opening credits.

Told you it would be all Hallmark-y. Except for the Simpson’s part. 

Yesterday wasn’t as gorgeous. It was overcast and chilly. But I still had the most amazing afternoon, thanks to two little neighbor girls that I had never met before.

Which isn’t surprising. Randy and I are ‘keep to ourselves’ kind of people. We make amazing neighbors.

I stepped outside in the late afternoon after working for hours in my home office/slash bedroom on a troubling issue. Two little girls, wearing masks and carrying boxes, stopped on the sidewalk in front of my house.

Little girl number one: Excuse me? But would you like to buy a seashell or a rock?

Me: Thank you, sweetie, but no.

Then, this little voice popped up in my head. Really?

Remember when you tried to sell dandelions you picked and carried around in an upside-down open umbrella? What were you asking? A penny? And you sold zero. Which makes sense, because they were dandelions. But still, it would have been nice to sell one or two. 

Me: You know what? Hold on a minute. Why don’t you pick me out a pretty seashell and I’ll be right back.

Randy and I both have junk drawers at the top of our bedroom dresser. His drawer has hair ties, bottle caps, and various medicine bottles. Mine has perfume, bracelets, note cards, and whatever money I find lying around the house. I had three singles in my drawer and took them out to the girls.

Little girl number two: We are donating 25% of our proceeds to the animal shelter.

Me: That is awesome! Do you have pets?

Little girl one: I have a cat and a dog and she has a million cats.

Little girl two: We have a dog and four cats.the little things seashell

Me: I’m so glad you are helping the animal shelter and thank you for picking out such a pretty seashell for me. Now, since you have masks on and I don’t, please back up and I’ll put the money on the bottom step. Then, you can get the money and leave my seashell. And thank you for wearing masks. I’m glad you want us all to be safe.

Little girl two: Ma’am, you don’t have to give us three dollars, we’re selling the seashells for a quarter.

Me: I think this is a three dollar shell. And I want to help the animal shelter, too. You both are wonderful and I hope you sell all of your seashells and rocks.

They went on their way and I felt a lightness that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I felt hope. They wore masks because it is the responsible thing to do. They were friendly and polite. They wanted to take care of the animals. How could I not feel a surge of hope for the future?

I know it was just a tiny little moment at the end of so many awful moments, but it felt like a balm. The weather wasn’t as nice as today, but it was still a beautiful, Hallmark kind of day.

I needed this.

I am counting days until I go back to the office. I alternate between feeling anxious and abject terror when I consider my return. But it’s going to get here. It is.

I’m trying, you guys, I am trying to appreciate every day and I am trying to convince myself that I have not fundamentally changed over the past year and I will be successfully cube dwelling in no time.

Anxiety aside, I am grateful for this gloriously beautiful day. I am grateful for the beautiful day I had yesterday.

And I know I’ll be fine. I’ve been fine up until now. I’ll kick this in the ass.

I hope you all are well and that you have a seashell moment of your own. I mean, it doesn’t have to be an actual seashell or anything. Just a nice moment.

Peace and light.

About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • What a wonderful story. You hear so few good stories about children these days but most don’t have happy endings or revolve around going/not going to school. And these children were polite and truthful. I immediately love their parents.
    Keep enjoying your days, be they greeting card beautiful or simply ordinary beautiful –

  • Lovely story. Beautiful story. Uplifting story. That said, I’m a fan of anything that references the Simpsons.

  • Now I really want “tree splooge” to appear in a Hallmark card. It shouldn’t be difficult. Just think of all the things that rhyme with “splooge”: stooge, luge…well, that’s all I can come up with, but more importantly those girls did pick out a lovely shell and I think what they were doing was so wonderful.
    Three dollars seems to be a magical amount right now too. Or it’s just an odd coincidence that the other day there was a young man playing the violin in the grocery store parking lot. He had a sign up that said he was collecting money for his father who lost his job. Maybe it was BS but I happened to have exactly three dollars in my wallet–I can’t remember the last time I paid cash for anything. I gave it to him and think he sincerely appreciated it.
    Anyway I hope your day continues to be perfect.

  • One of these upcoming days, when you are about to run screaming from the building that houses the cube farm, remember how those beautiful little girls on that chilly overcast day made you feel.
    Then try to sell one of your annoying colleagues a rock.
    Best of both worlds.

    • Ok, good reminder. I will do that. And it would be funny to sell rocks at work. But they all already think I’m weird. Or should I just go all in?

  • It is important to relish those special little moments. I am so glad you got one. Saturday was a very nice day here too, but I was working. It’s camping weather…. planning another camping trip. It’s a safer kind of get away. 🙂

  • This made me tear up, Michelle! What a wonderful thing to do. Those little girls will remember it always.
    I know because my middle son had a lemonade stand when he was about 7 and a guy came and gave him a twenty-dollar bill for a glass of (7-year-old prepared) lemonade. Now that same son, aged 40 and living on disability support carries a twenty-dollar bill always. Just in case he finds another enterprizing youngster. And he has. That man changed his life.
    You changed theirs.

  • Yeah, it’s stunningly beautiful here too. Ever see a picture of Yosemite in the springtime? Well, the south gate to Yosemite is eight miles up the road from here. Most of the snow has melted and I’m back to taking daily walks up to the old mill pond, which has about twenty ducks and geese swimming around in it.
    I keep tripping over how fucking lucky we were to move here in December of 2019, right before the goddamn apocalypse hit, and how much of a full-on trauma it was at the time, what, with the third in a row house we had been kicked out of, nowhere to put our possessions, not enough income to afford living in the East Bay any more, and almost thirty year old car to get us halfway across the state where it fucking snows and you’re just stuck inside when it does.
    But that’s the thing about trauma: it takes over your field of vision and obscures everything else that’s happening along with it, like the removal of insurmountable financial deadlines that just suck the joy out of whatever goodness you manage to bring to your day, day after day after day.
    I try not to get mad at the little kids I see in the dollar store without masks on. That’s their damn parents doing.
    We, in California and above the age of fifty, are eligible for our vaccinations starting Thursday. I will wait until they have them somewhere in Oakhurst to get mine, as driving down into the valley of seething covid to get vaccinated seems kinda dumb, and we remain safe enough on our little hillside in the boonies, But we will be fully vaccinated in April.
    We are seemingly gonna make it through this. I’m not superstitious, but it feels a little weird to say that.
    But god damn it, we need to be saying it. We’ve spent a whole year NOT knowing we were gonna make it, and knowing that is, to quote the goddamn president of the United States, a big fucking deal.
    It’s really amazing the joy that can be bought with three US dollars sometimes. When the women from Luna’s Tamales are in the parking lot of the shopping center, I always tip them a few dollars. I worked in food service for a long time and I know what a few dollars means to you when you’re trying to stretch your margins into the black and don’t yet know whether it will work or not.
    Also, it just feels good to have three fucking dollars that I can give away without upsetting my weekly food budget.
    Yup, there is gonna be some apocalypse ass just kicked as pretty as you please really soon.

    • Yep, I think we’re going to make it. And I get what you are saying. In the not so terribly distant past, that 3 bucks would have been used elsewhere.

By Michelle


RSIH in your inbox