It was the little things.

Last Sunday night, my friends—the Gals—and I went on our weekly video call. We usually reserved the hot seat to the gal who entered the call last (this week it was Iya again), but Mau’s question was way too good to not direct it to the entire group. “What are the top five things you’ll miss the most (about today)?”

Andi answered first. Then came Iya. Followed by Jam. I thought I would go next since it was Mau’s question, but she had an answer ready while I needed more time to think. I was also too focused on the others’ answers that I didn’t know what to say until it was finally my turn.

“Okay… Sam!”

On cue, I found the words.

“Okay, so I thought of it and…”

I couldn’t go on.

My eyes began to well up in tears. I began processing what I was thinking of; my mind racing faster than the words coming out of my mind.

I found myself staring at the screen, trying to calm my shaking voice.

As I went through the list in my head, I taken back to when I watched Brené Brown’s “Call to Courage” on Netflix the other week.

She shared how she had this opportunity to interview individuals who have gone through tremendous things—mass shootings, the death of children, and genocide, to name a few. The interview aimed to understand what people can do collectively to show up in a more compassionate way.

She then shared about how these people dealt with grief.

“The thing that surprised them (the interviewees) the most was how they missed the ordinary moments more than anything else,” she said. “That they missed the simple, ordinary things that they never really took notice of when they were happening.”

Interestingly, it was these simple, ordinary moments that first came to my mind that night:

I would miss those times when my dad would just call me up randomly, then pick me up from my place. He would take me to a nice restaurant, we would eat good food, and just talk for hours. Because it was in those meals where he would open up a part of him that he reserved only for his kids.

I would miss the opportunity to get picked up and dropped off at my mom’s place; a place where I didn’t have any agenda for the day. No plans, really. I’ll just be chilling, playing board games with my family, talking to my mom about work and marketing proposals, not having to worry about cooking my own food. Her place has become one of rest for me; a place of comfort in the last year.

I know they’re crazy and messy and a full set of characters… but I will miss hanging out with my big, crazy dad’s side of the family. I’ll miss the noise and loud conversations there.

I found myself completely agreeing with Brené Brown at that moment. 

My list contained nothing grand. Nothing I had purchased or achieved. That cute workstation I had recently built in my room didn’t even make the cut.

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It was moments, seemingly ordinary ones, that I would miss the most—these small pocket opportunities I had been gifted with in the present.

Isn’t this the funny thing about moments; that if we don’t stop, pay attention, and take those mental pictures of them in our head… they would be lost forever.

As I write this, there comes to mind several opportunities I wish I paid more attention to while they were still within my reach. Because today I have no other way of going back to them aside from pulling them out of my memory box.

Living in one home with my mom and siblings.

Spending lunch breaks with my officemates.

Visiting my dad every weekend.

Weeknight dinners with friends in the city.

Sunday family meals.

It was the little things. Always the little things.

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