The funny thing about toddlers is how you can’t always predict what will matter to them. Just when you’re patting yourself on the back about how your kid will drink out of any old cup, he decides that he will only wear pajamas or must have his syrup in a separate dish when he has waffles.
Really, though, I’m not so different. I’ve been known to get a sinking feeling when both my favorite mugs are dirty and I have to either grab one out of the dishwasher to wash it (which I just can’t do on principle) or use a plain old mug (the horrors!). I sometimes know that the difference between a good bath and a great one is taking the time to add those scented epsom salts. Sometimes I get the feeling to wear a certain pair or shoes or a certain sweater, and the day just feels right once I do. Or I’ll decide today is a curled hair or makeup day for no reason. Embracing that always makes me so happy.
Yesterday it happened in the Chick-fil-A drive through. I was ordering a sandwich when I thought, “Maybe I should get a cup of coffee.” Let’s be honest. I was thinking about the cup of coffee all morning as we ran from store to store to get our groceries for the week. I like the coffee I make at home best, but as I saw my very awake baby in the back and my toddler (who is still in the midst of a cold) and the huge bags of groceries, I thought, “This sandwich is going to be good. But this day would be especially great if I had some hot coffee to sip on the way home.”
It turned out to be the best decision. That small coffee gave me the energy to handle two screaming kids while I put just the cold stuff in the fridge. It gave me a ride home that felt luxurious rather than ordinary.
As I’ve given in to the little things over this past year, I’ve realized that maybe our toddlers are onto something. So much of my day often feels outside of my control. In the same way, so much of my toddler’s day seems out of his control. I’m the one planning and orchestrating, and he’s still learning to manage big emotions and live with a little brother.
Maybe pouring his own milk into his coffee or wearing a jacket rather than a sweatshirt really does make a difference in his little life. Maybe, like his mom, it gives him a sense of control to have something just the way he wants it from time to time.
Like me, he gives in a lot. He accepts things the way they are. But also like me, sometimes having the right cup matters. It matters a lot. And those little moments of getting something just how you want it can give us all more fortitude to face the hard stuff. A drive-thru cup of coffee (or the very specific band-aid) can add a little sparkle to an ordinary day.