A recent conversation with my daughter reminded me of how much time I dedicate to what is not firmly in my grasp. These realizations are born in an ordinary day. I’ve talked again and again about how much of life happens in the seconds where there is no milestone to mark, no celebration, or event that indents our personal paragraphs.

It happens in those moments where we think we do not have to pay attention: waiting in line at the post office, driving to work, a moment of solitude in the shower, or in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. This moment occurred yesterday while talking with my daughter. She brushed her hair and said, “Momma, I wished my hair was curly like yours.” My attention was divided because that’s how it usually falls. “Sure, honey.” I murmured to her as I folded a towel. Then she said, “But you wished your hair was straight like mine, right?  How come we always wish for what we do not have?”

That question made me take notice. I responded, “That’s how it usually is, honey. We all want what we don’t have.” Saying it aloud slapped me in the face. Part of me did not believe what was coming out of my mouth. I only half-believed what I was saying. What it did call to notice is how much we all fail to pay attention to what we have right now. I am guilty of not cherishing what it is right in front of me. I am grateful, though, that yesterday when the universe was yelling at me, I paid attention.

It requires a conscious practice of looking up and around and embracing what is in front of you. Gratitude requires practice. It is a choice. Once again,  I am reminded of the chorus line that still alludes me: Be here now. Appreciate what is, instead of what isn’t.