Saturday, December 25, 2004

It's the Little Things That Count

Well, good people, that Arctic tundra from a few days ago has lingered, but it's had a little help from snow plows and shovels and snow blowers.

Today shone bright but cold, and normally a day for me to announce, "I'm not going to shul, I'm going to relax at home." But I had no choice: we were invited out to lunch after shul.

So my husband and the two oldest bundled up in their winter finest of boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, down-filled jackets, and sub-zero-temperature heavy parkas and headed out early to make the normally-30-minute, perhaps to take a bit longer.

An hour later, I, too, bundled myself up and my youngest son, not yet five, ready to encounter the Toronto winter elements. Now, aside from the frosty air and snowy and icy surfaces, what was to make this day different for us, was that it was to be my son's literally first trek to shul. This child was accustomed to being pushed in a stroller or pulled in a wagon for 30 minutes, which normally become 35-40 as I have to stop and listen to what he's saying, or ask what he just said, or check out a bird nest he's pointed out, or have to ask a passing dog owner what the dog's name is -- the walk is usually a walk of discovery between this mother and child.

But today I knew that the stroller's wheels wouldn't manage to cut through the sidewalk's snowy surfaces without breaking off, and the wagon's wheels would probably tumble off their axis, as well. It was a day for my son to walk.

We held hands and set out, slipping and sliding along the way, climbing up and down man-made "mountains" at street corners and major intersections, discovering this winter wonderland of ours. Not once did he complain, not once did he cry for the lack of stroller to shepherd him to shul; he only asked which shul we would be going to, because we're members of two of them, one closer than the other. And today we were going to the one farther away!

My little trooper managed, and together we made the "treacherous" walk in about 40 minutes. I told him how proud I was of him, making his first walk to shul, in these particular conditions. Pleased with this compliment, he tromped into shul with his rosy cheeks, with his cherubic grin and said, "Can I take off my boots...hat...jacket...snowpants now?"

Like I named this piece, it's often the little things that count.

I hope that you, as parents, also learn to consider each baby step a giant the right direction!

To that end, here are the beautiful lyrics to Canadian singer-songwriter Amy Sky's "Ordinary Miracles." She, too, recounts in this song, which she wrote for her son, everyday accomplishments that count for so much more.



At six weeks you learned to smile
at three months you learned to laugh
at six months you cut a tooth
and at ten months you took a step

At two years you made a best friend
at three years you rode a bike
at four years you learned to skate
and at five years you learned to write

Just ordinary miracles
ordinary miracles
but all the same they're miracles to me
the days that Ill remember well
have a simple kind of wonderful
of ordinary miracles

Your silky head beneath my chin
for bedtime books and lullabies
your angel kiss upon my cheek
your teddy bear clutched to your side

How soon the bike wheels turn to car wheels
the lullabies to rock and roll
the teddy bears to pretty girls
and instead of you these thoughts I'll hold

Just ordinary miracles
ordinary miracles
but all the same they're miracles to me
the days that Ill remember well
have a simple kind of wonderful
of ordinary miracles

And I know the day will come
that you'll spread your wings and fly
but I'll treasure these moments all my life

A gentle kind of wonderful
the sweetest days are always full
of ordinary miracles
each time I hold you near
it's an ordinary miracle

Latte Music (SOCAN)/ Warner Chappell Music Canada