A poem from Waiting to Unfold reprinted at Hugo Schwyzer's blog
Distinctions: a poem for Havdalah

Lessons in gratitude from a three year old

The last pink rays of afternoon light are coloring the very lip of the distant mountains. Everything else is already in shadow. Wind rustles the dragonfly chime, a periodic descant over the quiet song of spring peepers, a distant car, a barking dog. Our son is in bed; I'm on the deck as twilight begins to take over from afternoon.

Watching our son experience his fourth spring has been delicious. As excited as I've been to see the leaves unfurl (and I have; I relish this spectacular chartreuse unfolding every year -- spring is one of my very favorite seasons in New England), he's been more so. "Look, mommy," he keeps saying. "The trees are waking up! The trees are waking up!"

Each morning we pull up to his school's parking lot and he asks, "can we go see the purple flowers?" He means the stand of tulips along the walk by the bank, next door. "They growed up! They're so beautiful!" Beneath a flowering tree, he solemnly tells me, "this is the most beautiful tree I've ever seen."

I don't think I can take any credit for his finely-honed sense of wonder; I think it's innate to who he is. Or at least I hope it is. Family lore has it that my first word was "wow," and there are reasons why modah ani is my perennial favorite prayer. There's so much in the world to appreciate, so much to be grateful for.

All I can hope for is to help him cultivate and retain his gratitude and his willingness to say thanks. To the teacher who pours him a glass of water ("it's the best water I ever tasted!"), to his father ("thank you for building me a big-boy bed, daddy"), to the Holy Blessed One ("thank you God for this beautiful car!")

Thank You, God, for this beautiful child. Thank You, God, for this beautiful evening. Thank You, God, for everything.