In the movie Vanilla Sky, the protagonist David Aames is talking to his guide, and has just come to the realization that he is dead. As he comes to grips with his situation, and looks back on his life, his spirit guide comments “It’s little things.”
Aames muses. “Little things. There’s nothing bigger, is there?”
And a few minutes later, while looking into the eyes of his great love, he asks , “Didn’t you once say that every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around?”
Today I spent the afternoon with my 14 year old daughter at my downtown office. I worked, she did homework in our conference room. Took her to Staples and bought her a bunch of school supplies she needed. Talked to her about her class assignments and helped her straighten out some of her notebooks which were a jumbled mess. Took her to lunch, and later for an afternoon snack where she ate all of hers and some of mine.
Over the last several years it’s been difficult for me to grapple with her growing up. My wife, as the knowing outside observer, I think actually feels a bit sad for me. Which is saying something because I usually never get (nor deserve if truth be told) much sympathy from her. But she sees the change in my relationship with our daughter and she thinks it’s sad.
I’m better with the situation now, but over the last few years I’ve sometimes felt almost as if I’ve been in mourning, or even more like I was dumped by a girlfriend who I really loved. I used to have someone who climbed in my lap and danced with me in our living room. My little friend who thought I was cool. Now I have a confusing and often frustrating relationship with someone who sometimes feels like a stranger. We have little common ground now and it’s just plain awkward lots of the time. And I’m not even REMOTELY close to being cool any more.
But today was good. Didn’t talk much about big issues or anything at all really. But we were together. And it was good.
Tonight after everyone had gone to bed it was still just the two of us sitting at the breakfast room table working. She was doing her homework, still. I too was reading a book for work. Finally she finished. As she got up from the table, collected her books and stuffed them in her backpack, she thanked me for the day. With sincerity. Which I don’t get from her very much any more. And she gave me a real kiss and a real hug. Which is even more rare.
A little thing, perhaps. But there’s nothing bigger.