Column: Finding the joy in small things – Web Exclusive

Janica Kaneshiro | Staff Writer

I’m a baby person.

Yes, I’m that one girl who makes parents feel downright awkward when I make goo-goo eyes at their children and wave ridiculously when they pass me by. So, as you can imagine, when a story about Chicago twins popped up in my news bar on the AOL homepage, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to read it. I, however, didn’t expect a story about inevitably doomed conjoined twins who shared a malformed heart. My jaw dropped, and I didn’t know how to feel.

The twins’ mother, Brianna Mann, seemed to be very unaffected by the fact that the projected life for her sons is grim, and that their living for a single year is a miracle. She said that even though their lives may end very soon, “At the end of the day, they know I loved them. And I know they loved me.”

This for her, is enough.

Dear Brianna Mann understands happiness. Most of us only see a finish line, whereas Brianna can celebrate each trial and tribulation she passes through. For her, she finds happiness in a first birthday, something many parents take for granted.

This rings true in everyone’s lives. As teenagers, it’s true we have problems, but sometimes it seems like everyone’s lives are ending at any sign of trouble. Brianna Mann’s story makes me wonder if we’re all just basing our happiness off of the wrong things.

Is it that we’ve ignored small improvements because we’re blinded by the bigger picture? Is that B on a test not to be celebrated because it only brought your grade up two percent instead of three like you were hoping? It seems to me that looking at small victories in life tends to bring the most happiness. Life isn’t measured in full pieces. Maybe we all need to take into account all of the half, quarter, and even eighth triumphs.

For twins Kaydon and Kameron, half a heart is enough.

Though I may not have exactly what I’m looking for, if I add together my small victories, I, too, would have enough to be happy.

Re-examining happiness doesn’t mean settling for less than you hoped for; it’s celebrating that you may not have reached that finish line yet, but you’re getting there, and that in itself is victory.