The Joy of Small Things

I remember her toddler fascination with picking peas from the small garden behind our home on the reservation. The sweet pea vines tied with a homemade lattice of sticks and string, twice her height, trellising over her piggy-tailed head.

“Go peas, Daddy?!” she’d squeak, holding her breath in anticipation.

“Ok. . . go ahead,” he’d say, unable to refuse her.

Watching from the window, we might have said to the other, “Adorbs!” in sentimental urban speak but this was the pre-21st century. Instead, we cried quiet tears, at the cuteness of her tiny, chubby hands stuffing herself silly with summer’s sweetness.

And then there were her perfume bottles. Empty, all of them. The collection began as a gift for confirming her adolescent understanding of religious teachings.

The bottles—fragile, colorful, Egyptian and vintage, etched and adorned and none seemingly a favorite were just there.  Grouped on her shelf, attractive to look at or start a conversation and a representation of how scent enriched her day. Perhaps they were an early connection to her pursuit to serve the beauty industry; or rather, her career plan to demand the industry’s respect for indigenous peoples’ culture and livelihood when harvesting from exotic locales.

Those pretty bottles, almost all broken now, crashed on the rocks of life. 

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How does remembering feel for you? Are memory land mines sometimes too much? Can you find moments within those memories where a tiny bit of joy shines through?



Monica Sword

Monica Sword is an aspiring author and artist living a deeply heartfelt life. Following the early death of three family members, including her daughter, she struggled to balance home and work life. Once she discovered how to apply her conscientious and high-achieving personality to honor her passions, be mindful of her emotional reactions and focus on self-care, she developed a creative mindset that produces her most meaningful life work. On her website,, Monica inspires and encourages others to honor their heart and soul in mindful ways.