She stood next to me in the dining room, wearing a red top, black striped pants, and white leather shoes smaller than my hand. "Here," she said, resting a colorful set of nesting plastic cups on my knee.
"Thank you," I said, and she turned and hurried off.
While her mom and I were talking, my 18-month-old niece, Anna Claire, played and chattered and brought me her toys. Through her, I was learning how to be an aunt. And that morning, she taught me another important lesson.
The morning drizzle had turned into a steady rain, and the sound grew louder as the rain drummed on the deck just outside the French doors. All of a sudden, Anna Claire stopped moving and stood still, which made me glance over. She was looking out the windows, watching the big raindrops hit and soak the deck. Her green eyes got huge, and her pink-red lips formed a perfect “O”.
“Oh, wow!” she cried.
It was the first time I’d heard her use that phrase, and I loved hearing it come from our pint-sized person. She stopped her busy, little body long enough to look out the window and express delight at something that was commonplace to me but uncommon to her.
A few seconds later, she zipped away again, but her reaction made me ask myself: When was the last time I even noticed the rain, beyond it being an inconvenience that required an umbrella, a nuisance that made my hair frizz?
But this, even more: When was the last time I said “Oh, wow!” about anything?
Since then, I’ve tried to develop an oh-wow attitude. To look beyond the common and see the uncommon.
English writer, philosopher, and journalist, G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) wrote, "We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders." Known for his wit and humor among other things, Chesterton had a sense of wonder that didn't wane with age.
I can’t help but think that if he had been with us that morning, he would have been delighted not only with the rain but with Anna Claire even more. Just like I was.
When was the last time you felt a sense of wonder over something as seemingly ordinary as the rain? What can you do to cultivate a habit of wonder?
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