A few years ago I landed in California to visit my sister and her family.
My sister’s eldest son, William, is one of my favorite human beings ever. He was 4 at the time, this hilarious combination of earnest pedant and aspiring comedian, with a voice deeper than my father’s. We’d play Legos together for hours. I was allowed to retrieve requested pieces but was prohibited (big dumb animal that I apparently was) from any and all construction work. It was honestly the most fun I had that summer.
The day before I was supposed to leave William comes up to me and hands me a drawing of the 2 of us. In it we’re standing next to a Christmas tree, holding hands and smiling at each other. Christmas is William’s favorite holiday, above even his birthday.
It wasn’t Christmas. It wasn’t even December. It was June.
And it was William’s way of telling me that he loved me and that he’d miss me. I burst into tears on the spot.
I tell this story a lot. Not because it’s unusual or unique. But because I think it points to exactly what we’re endeavoring to do with Tikel.
I’m a big believer in the importance of life’s little moments and little things. That random love note left next to your bedside table. That dinner party remembered not for the food but for the non-stop laughter. That unasked-for coffee perfectly made to your exact preference. That post-breakup support of late-night calls. That spontaneous hug for no reason at all.
That unexpected drawing from your 4-year-old nephew.
I believe these small and seemingly insignificant moments and things are the building blocks for every single (real) relationship we have in life. The little ways in which we show others that we’re thinking of them. That they matter to us somehow. That there’s a ‘we’ beyond a ‘you’ and ‘me’.
There’s this 13th-century Buddhist philosopher who (unsurprisingly) philosophized about Buddhism: “Those who regard the mundane as a hindrance to practice only understand that in the mundane there is nothing sacred. They do not yet understand that in sacredness, nothing is mundane.”
I love this concept, the sacred and the mundane. I think it explains exactly why that “mundane” drawing from William touched my heart or my soul or whatever we choose to call that place inside of us.
It showed me that he was thinking of me. That I matter to him somehow. That there’s a ‘we’, beyond a ‘Kelly’ and ‘William’.
Years later and I still have William’s drawing. Whenever I’m feeling particularly down, I take it out and look at it. And my eyes prick with tears, every time.
This. This is exactly what we’re doing with Tikel. A place for “mundane” moments that aren’t, really, mundane. Little moments and little things, small and seemingly insignificant, that touch that place inside of us. Like Legos, if you will, that piece by piece, and over time, build something real and something special: a ‘we’ beyond a ‘you’ and ‘me’.