The Importance of Being Small

Posted on | May 23, 2012 | 18 Comments

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of changing the world.

I thought that to really change the world, I had to be really big, really effing important… a politician, a famous actress, a television personality.  I looked at the people around me who were content to be “small” and I wondered what was wrong with them.  I wondered how they could be so content with having low key lives of seemingly little importance, wondered why they seemed to be pleased with small accomplishments and tiny achievements.

I used to look at my grandfather as a small town man who never branched out farther than the reach of his arms, my granny was “just a housewife.”  I used to see my parents as contentedly minor, moving through their lives at a snails pace, leaving no permanent trail behind them.

And then I became a grown up of seemingly little importance and my view of all those before me changed drastically.

My small town grandfather fought for his country in France and went to cooking school on a faraway island.  My housewife granny spent years working in mills after growing up working on a farm.  She raised two children who raised six children who are now raising ten children of their own.  And my contentedly minor parents have happy lives and three pretty kick ass children, all successful in our chosen paths, all different in our own ways.

The differences they make, the differences they’ve made might not make it into a history book, but they’ve made historic differences.  Without my grandfather, there would not be my mother.  Without my granny, there would not be my father.  Without my parents, there would be no me, and without me, there would be no J.  Tiny miracles, historic changes.

I look at my life thus far and I realize that I’m just a speck on a wide and vast landscape of a planet.  I realize that my tiny miracles are just that… tiny.  I realize that though I live and breathe and work and play, my day to day achievements aren’t all that significant.  At least not to the planet, not to the world as a whole.

So the secret then, is to tighten your perspective and shrink your world.  To the planet, I am a speck but to my speck of a child, I am the planet.  My parents might not have cured cancer, but they created life.  They created lives who will create lives, who will one day, just maybe, do something epic.

There are moments when I look at this blog and wonder what I should be doing to be bigger or better or more important.  I wonder how to get more comments or more page views or “go viral” and all that jazz.  I think that I’m failing at blogging because I’m not somehow making a significant difference to people’s lives.

And then I remember the emails I get, the ones from men and women struggling through divorce, struggling through single parenting.  I remember the one or two people out there who maybe feel less alone when they come here, who maybe feel like someone else gets it.  And I realize that I’m making a difference every day, even if it’s just to myself and my child… and maybe, just maybe, one of you.

I am a woman of little global significance.

But I am a woman of great individual importance.

And so are you.


18 Responses to “The Importance of Being Small”

  1. Jana A (@jana0926)
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:12 am

    Deep thoughts for so early in the day. And amazing thoughts.

  2. Law Momma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Momma’s been up a while. Ha! 🙂

  3. Erin
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    Just wanted to let you know that although I just started ready your blog a few months ago, I really enjoy it. As a mother of a baby boy, I often identify and think about the joy I have to look forward to. I especially enjoyed todays. I stress sometimes about my impact on the world and how little it really is. I like the way you said, ” To the planet, I am a speck but to my speck of a child, I am the planet.” Thank you for that!

  4. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Thanks for reading, honestly… That means the world to me.

  5. Jo
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    I’m quite sure it’s not just one or two who feel less alone when they come here.

  6. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Thank you for that. You are sweet. 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

  7. michelle
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    this might not make sense, but you help me keep my marriage together. that’s a pretty big deal.

  8. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    That’s freaking epic. Thank you for that.

  9. Kir
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    yes, YES, you certainly are. I have been reading for weeks now thinking …”She’s just amazing and everything she writes is heartfelt” ..I’m sorry the comments have not been in abundance but my heart has been here with you. You are NOT SMALL, not in my world…I’m so glad I’m sharing space on this planet with you sweetie. xo

  10. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    I’m thrilled to share space with you! 🙂 Thanks for the sweet words.

  11. pinkflipflops44
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    i love reading what you write. 😉

  12. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Aw, thanks! 🙂

  13. Heather Griffitts Clark
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    You definately make a difference to your faithful voyeurs, ma’am. Even if they aren’t in your exact shoes, you make a difference 🙂

  14. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Thanks, friend. That’s all we can ask for, right? 🙂

  15. MaconMom
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    A great reminder! I could have sworn that by 40 I would have saved the world.

  16. lawmomma
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Lady, you save MY world constantly! I’d be lost without Sunday mornings at the park!

  17. Kristinayellow
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Love this. I think everyone dreams of being big in life–making a difference, people knowing their name, etc. I think it’s so great that you are reminding us all that the little things we do *do* make a difference–we may not be aware of it–but they do. Little things can change the course of a day, a week, heck, a life. And that’s something to cherish.

  18. Elated Exhaustion
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

    Stunning, truly, and definitely something I needed to hear today. I’ve been pondering this lately. My ten year high school reunion is coming up, and though I used to think I would “be somebody” I’ve really turned out to be quite average. Thank you for reminding me that I’m still important.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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