When I was a child, family was always at least an eight-hour drive away. And our family was small – one aunt, one uncle, and a few cousins. My grandparents all passed away when I was young, one before I was born. Close family friends played the role of family; we celebrated holidays and vacationed with friends.

My mother’s teacher’s aide and her husband became, in every meaningful way, my grandparents. I remember staying with them for a week when I was in first grade and my parents went to Hawaii. Granny made chocolate covered doughnuts for breakfast. Granddad was a tireless board game partner. I have many fond memories.

When I was finishing my last year of elementary school, my family moved, and Granny and Granddad were a ten-hour drive away. We saw them less, and I now worry I was not the granddaughter they deserved as I grew into my teenage years and then my twenties. I was caught up in my own life and what would happen next. Where would I go? Who would I become? I saw them at least once a year, but I did not devote the patience to these visits that was deserved.

They both recently passed away. When showing my husband pictures of Granny and Granddad, the stoicism I demonstrated at their funerals melted away. When I reflect on their lives and how I live mine, I don’t want to get angry anymore about the little things. I want to let it go the next time my husband loses something that has to be replaced. I want to not get irritated when I just miss the train because there was someone slow on the escalator in front of me. I want to dismiss the anxiety that will come with the next work email, which in the moment feels like it will lead to endless complications. I want to remember that those are not the things that are important. Those moments of inconvenience and irritation will not be my defining memories. Unless the incident is horrible enough, yet the outcome not so grave for the story to, in time, become humorous, incidents of irritation will not make the list of the stories I tell. They won’t be part of my memory and they won’t be in the memories of others I one day leave behind, though my reaction to such incidents could be. I want to create positive memories, and I’m going to work on not getting angry anymore about the little things.

Read a related post: The Consequence Of Anger At Work