When my granddaughter (who is 12) was four, she came into my office early one morning.
I was sitting in the half-dark silence of a rare moment alone. Not enough coffee to be awake, but conscious enough to draw joy from seeing the sun rise above my neighbor’s roof. I never heard her tiny footsteps on the hardwood floor or the door creak as it must have when she pushed it open. But suddenly I felt her breath on my arm.
I turned my head to see her peering over the arm of the chair, staring down at my open journal.
“What are you writing, Nana?”, she asked me as she climbed up into my lap, with no invitation at all, then wiggled around until I could tell she was staying a while.
“I was making a list,” I told her, “of all the things I’m thankful for today.”
“Well, that’s going to be easy,” she said matter-of-factly and began looking around the room.
“You have this cup of coffee,” she said, “and these cool markers and lots of books and pictures of everyone at the beach and lots of paper for any time you want to write something and…”
I drank my coffee and listened as she named just about everything in the room and then asked me, “How many do you need?”
I told her the number wasn’t important. The exercise was just to make me mindful of everything around me. To notice the things that make up my world and remember the parts that are important.
She had certainly shown me that.
I never wrote a thing. I just squeezed her hand and breathed deep breaths, willing myself to never forget that moment, while she continued pointing and naming everything in the room.
In a couple of days 12 will be 13 and the opportunities for sharing her insight and tiny wisdom will continue to dwindle. But remembering this one today was just the nudge I needed to slow down and pay attention.
Today. Right here. Right now. There is so much to be thankful for.