The Small Things

Column: Finding the Good
by Caitlin Ludwig

Very recently, my hometown (Byron, IL) experienced a great tragedy.  A loving and carefree 17-year-old died after her car crashed into the Rock River on her way home from work in Oregon, IL.  This terrible accident left our community heartbroken for her family and friends.  Her classmates, community, family and friends honored her life today as they said “see you soon, Megan” rather than goodbye.  I can only imagine what it is like to lose one of your best friends or one of your classmates.  I have been fortunate enough to experience very little death in my life – a treasure I won’t always be able to keep.

While Megan’s death is indeed tragic, it has, as most tragedies do, reminded the town of Byron that it really is the small things in life that make a difference.  In celebration of Megan’s life and of all of those who have gone too soon, I’ve decided to take some time to reflect on the smaller things in life that should be truly celebrated.  Please, feel free to add to the list!

In no particular order… My list of small things that bring great amounts of happiness:

  • Sunshine – No matter the temperature, sunshine brightens anyone’s day.
  • Freshly Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies – Not great for the waistline, but fantastic for the soul.
  • Sugar-Free Lime Jello – It wiggles and I giggle.
  • Unexpected Holidays (or holidays I’ve forgotten exist only to find out I have the day off!) – President’s Day, MLK Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day to name a few.
  • The sound of an orchestra warming up – It’s exciting and magical all at the same time.  Even better, you can experience this locally!
  • Puppy kisses when you first come home – I’ve yet to find something so warm and loving as the pure excitement radiating from my 5 lbs Morkie when I come in the door and the kisses that let you know how much you were missed and his unconditional love.
  • Phone calls from long-lost friends – Okay, phone calls from any friends really but somehow the universe seems to  understand when you need to hear from your best friend from 6th grade more than any one else in the world and the phone magically rings.
  • Dinner with family – I know not everyone is as fortunate to have the kind of amazing and hilarious family that I have but nothing beats a long day than Chicken Surprise (surprise, there is no chicken – my dad’s specialty dish…) with the people who celebrate your successes,  understand your fears, accept your faults and love you unconditionally even if all you talk about is the nothings of the day.
  • Long walks without your cell phone – Granted, I’ve seen too many episodes of Law & Order and CSI to actually leave my cell phone behind, but I enjoy simple walks with my cell phone on silent and nothing but blue skies and butterflies to bother me.
  • Singing at the top of my lungs (and dancing…) in my car to bad pop songs (okay, or maybe GLEE songs…) – If you’ve seen me at a stoplight, you’ve probably witnessed it… and I’m not ashamed.

As tragic as it all is, I think Megan’s death reminded us of something:  tomorrow is never guaranteed so make sure you cherish the small things while you can.  Hopefully, we can remember this sentiment days, weeks, months and years after we have said “see you soon” rather than wait for another tragic reminder to start living today.

I’m off to eat my jello…See ya later, Megan….



~ by caitlinludwig on March 29, 2011.

4 Responses to “The Small Things”

  1. I love this blog post. Recently I have been talking about the little things and how much they matter to me. This made me sad for the loss of the young girl but smile because small things are what makes life so precious. I would like to add:

    -Opening Day of baseball
    -Holding hands with someone you love
    -The sound of a thunderstorm
    -A text message from your favorite person
    -The excitement of seeing a movie you have been waiting for
    -Bowling…I love it. Can’t help it.
    -The day you realize it is spring
    -The smell and look of a clean house
    -Thinking about someone who makes you smile


    • Perfect additions!! Those are all fantastic small things that totally rock! And I’m right there with you with bowling… it’s ridiculous but completely awesome. 🙂

  2. So true 🙂 It’s the small things that make life worth living…like hearing your new puppy (okay, 6 years old actually, but I still think of her as a puppy!) bark when you leave because she wants to come with you…if only I could teach her to write zoning reports… 😉

  3. Awesome post Caitlin and a good reminder to appreciate and enjoy!
    A few of my favorites —
    The crazy sweet laughter of my daughter (or any child) and the vibrant colors of fall.

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