I walked down the street, people with their distressed ankle jeans and infinity scarves, black and yellow yoga outfits and strollers, cigarettes dangling from drawling lips. A man wearing a uniform, carrying a brown paper package to our neighbors stops in happy surprise and bends down. “Well, HELLO there!” he exclaims. “Where are you going today?” My daughter stares, openmouthed, after him as he continues to turn and wave his way back to his truck. After he pulls away, she musters her energies and yells “bye!!” with enthusiasm, then trots down the rest of the block.

Everything is filled with such wonder. She stops, every 30 seconds, to inspect a succulent’s soft leaf or a pile of leaves in someone’s driveway. The construction workers pulling shingles off of a roof provide 5 full minutes of 100% attention-absorbing incredulity. She never puts something off until later – no, the present is the only time that matters to her. She searches and runs and jumps and giggles and explores as each thought comes into her mind. And when she is tired, she crashes, happy at the productivity of her day.

She has no concept of tomorrow. The joy, the learning, the attention and activity all happen right now. There is no wasting time or procrastination because everything is valuable, everything leads to novel neural pathways wrinkling her young brain, leading to recognition of today’s favorite song, a new word, the color of a new friend’s hair. She does not sit back and wait to be entertained, but dives headfirst (often quite literally!) into the next adventure.

There is so much to learn from the way she takes on life. Right now holds so much promise, but can so easily flit by, unnoticed, and join a pile of lost moments sinking into graying memory.

Watching children, we learn to take on the best of them, and this is one of the most wonderful of their natural abilities. That said, my goal until my next birthday is to work on making every single moment count. And live in the moment, with her.

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