my 3 year-old teacher

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I only see my niece a few times a year because we live in different places. It’s such a delight for me to spend time with this adorable child that I want to preserve the memories by taking photographs. (I mean, this kid is really cute.) My phone is always in my pocket, ready to go.

During my most recent visit, she was on the brink of turning 3 years old. She was eager to play and talk and sing and laugh. But whenever that phone camera came out of my pocket, she’d turn away, suddenly uninterested in engaging with me.

The kid could tell that I was no longer present, that I had somehow extracted myself from our shared precious moment, becoming instead an observer with an agenda.

She taught me that the other person, however subtly, knows when I’m being present and when I’m not. How humbling to learn from a being small enough to carry in my arms.

Have you had a helpful reminder to stay present lately?