It'd been a tough, long, long, tough day. It's been a crazy-busy, often long, occasionally tough month, to be honest. But today really took the cake. At the end of it, I'd spent six of my eight hours in the office in meetings.
(That is not an exaggeration. I wish it were an exaggeration, but it is not. They were good meetings, all, but there were six hours of them, which is--in and of itself--enough to make one call the day both long and tough. And there was other stuff, too--work stuff--that made it all feel even longer, and even tougher.)
At the end of this long, tough day, I was scheduled to head out to the synagogue, to help with some of the initial set-up for the bat-mitzvah luncheon of the daughter of one of my closest friends there. It was, to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do. And when I arrived home to pick up Em before heading right back out again, Baroy was in a totally stressed mood, having clashed with N over homework after the second day in a row in which major appliances have decided to try to die on us, and Em herself was near tears over Girl Drama at school.
Just another day in paradise.
But these are good friends; these are the friends who I know dragged themselves to the synagogue to set up for the luncheon after Em's bat mitzvah. (The family whose event it is is forbidden to come to these set-up events; it's the least we in the congregation can do to make the last few days just slightly less stressful.) What you make a commitment to help friends like these, you keep it. And so I did. I counseled Em on her problems through the ride over, parked the car, and put on my happy face as we entered the social hall to start wrapping 200 sets of utensils in napkins and tying them with ribbons. But, I'm telling you...it was a strain. By then I was carrying around my problems, and Em's, and Baroy's, and N's. And I'm sure it showed.
And then, about 15 minutes after we'd arrived, the other two ladies in my little temple posse came bustling in--carrying three (count 'em, three) nonfat decaf vanilla lattes. Without a word, my friend J handed one of them to me and plonked herself down next to Em, while my friend D gave me a grin and plonked herself down next to me, and we set to work. We were done in under an hour.
On the way home, I said to Em, "Just in case you missed it...That cup of coffee? That meant everything to me tonight. Not the coffee itself so much as knowing that my friends were thinking of me, that they didn't have to ask, that they just knew what I'd need, even without knowing I needed it."
Em replied, "Sometimes it's just the little things, huh?"
And I said, "More often than not, they're more important than the big things."
But what I should have said was, they're bigger than the big things. They're huge. Even if they fit in a recyclable cardboard cup.