I was invited to a four year old’s birthday party last night. She got the scooter she had been wanting for the last several months and her reaction was just what you’d expect. That’s just what I wanted she said several times. And as she opened her other gifts, she was smart enough to show some enthusiasm, even commenting on one of the board games that my boyfriend and I gave her that it, too, was something she had always wanted. But the scooter was a definite highlight. She wanted to ride it immediately after gift opening, going in circles inside a few times until finally getting to go outside with it. But what was sweet is that she didn’t want to ride it alone. She asked if I’d walk with her. So we went up and down the driveway a few times until she decided she was done with the scooter. Then we played with other toys for a while and then raced a few times up and down the driveway. She pointed out where her mom had written happy birthday in chalk on the sidewalk. She explained why she loved a Wisconsin postcard she was given. We made faces in a plastic mirror that she found in the garage and sat outside and ate birthday cake. And that was pretty much it. Complete excitement. She got the scooter she wanted, rode it for about 10 minutes and was perfectly happy with her birthday celebration. What a great reminder to appreciate the small stuff. I think sometimes our expectations for things, especially things we have been anticipating or waiting for, are too big. Adults sometimes expect the things we desire to fill more than what they’re designed to…we expect the attainment of “things” to somehow drastically change our lives, whether those things are objects (new car, nice clothes, new house) or people or jobs. But really, a scooter is just a scooter. Good for about 10 minutes of fun. Getting the things we desire won’t change anything unless we are somehow content already. At least reasonably content. Because if we aren’t, then we simply start looking for the next thing on the list that we think will make us happy. And the next thing. I’m thankful to have been reminded by a four year old that the things I yearn for will only be gifts (realistically or metaphorically) when I see them as additions to my life, not panaceas for any discontent. Once again, gratitude is key.