Right Now.

Mama, this was an amazing day. A fun day.
I agree. What was your favorite part?
Right now.

This is the conversation my daughter and I had before bedtime Sunday night. It had been a wonderful December weekend with nothing to do, not a single commitment. Saturday afternoon we sat on the couch and watched Christmas movies, first Elf, then A Charlie Brown Christmas. Her bare feet were cold as ice cubes, but she refused to wear socks, preferring instead to burrow them under my warm rump. And so we sat, she, belly-laughing at Will Ferrell being hit by yellow taxi cabs, and I, warming her feet with my layers of blubber. (I always knew they’d come in handy someday.)

Sunday was fun as well, with brunch after church in St. Louis and an impromptu trip to Pier 1 Imports to shop for sequin pillows and take silly pictures of her with a seashell protruding from her forehead. By evening, she was dressed in pajamas and ready for bed well before the usual bedtime. That’s when she told me—her favorite part of it all:

Right now.

I grinned as it dawned on me that right now was my favorite part, too.

My daughter has a gift for pulling me out of thinking-ahead mode back into the present. She has a gift for dragging me out of rumination straight into the present. She is equal parts goofy and wise. And she herself is a gift to us, God’s present to a barren couple.

It occurred to me one morning as we were about to leave for school that I would not have loved her as well if she had been easily conceived. I do not seek out the silver lining in every cloud, and I don’t look back on our infertility with pleasant nostalgia, so I believe this was a message from God: that I would not have been able to appreciate the magnitude of the gift without having to wait for her. So God required us to wait.

She is well worth every painful moment. She has taught me about cherishing the presence of others and continues to teach me about loving the present.

My favorite part of it all is right now.