LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER

“I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than fatally disappointed.”― Julia Glass

You know what’s bad about expectations? They suck you into this world of fantasy where everything is how you want it to be and everyone is dancing to your tunes.

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Expectations also make you blind enough to not recognize what makes you happy. They just show you what you want and ignore what truly fills you with joy.

We all have expectations, of course. Even animals do, probably. Dogs want us to give them food, shelter and lots of love. But the difference is when a dog gets a pat instead of a hug, it’ll still be happy.

While longing for something big and grand, we miss out on the little things that actually matter.

Back in the days of yore, Mom used to pack lunch for school. One day, while kissing me goodbye, she whispered, ‘There’s a surprise in the box.’

I couldn’t contain my excitement and curiosity. I wondered what it could be and made a thousand guesses. During the school prayer too, I mulled over the various possibilities—the creamy cupcake she might’ve hidden underneath the sandwich or my favourite strawberry frozen yogurt or oooh it could be a Nutella sandwich. My mind worked relentlessly to produce new guesses, and when the bell finally rang, the teacher barely exited when my hands automatically went under the desk in order to release the lunch box from the confines of my bag.

A veggie sandwich lay in one compartment, a little soggy, while the other compartment was taken up by a small snickers bar.

Given my imaginations and expectations, I should’ve been a little underwhelmed, but I wasn’t. Nope. My face broke into a huge grin and I hid the bar under the desk lest my friends see it and ask for a share. That day went along like a festival. Not that chocolates were a rare thing for me but it was a surprise. An unexpected gesture of love from Mom.

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The size of the gift doesn’t matter as long as it’s wrapped in love.

A bear-hug from a usually reticent dad, a surprise visit from your darling sister, favourite dish cooked by mom, grandma’s bright beam after winning a single game of ludo, grandpa’s ecstasy when his grandson jumps with joy on seeing him, an impromptu candle-light dinner arranged by husband, a single text message from wife asking how his business meeting went, a son’s success visible in the form of pride in the mother’s eyes, a daughter’s accomplishments making a father say, ‘That’s my girl’, a brother’s watchful eye, wiping out all the libertines surrounding his sister, with his death stare, best friend knocking on your door the moment she receives a distress call from you—it could be as massive as a breakup or as trifling as a pizza craving.

These are the moments that make up our lives. Not the money we splurge or the flattery we shower.

So the next time Mom forces you to finish up that giant glass of milk, do it because you only have so much time together. Now separated by thousands of miles, what I wouldn’t give to eat her food.

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