If there is one thing I have learned since I have started writing this column, it is to be more observant of the world around me.
Things that I would have never noticed before, now stand out to me and because of this, I have had many experiences and opportunities that I would have otherwise missed out on had I continued on, lost in my own little world.
I have also learned the importance of allowing myself to deviate from my schedule from time to time in order to let things play out naturally.
This past week, I had an unexpected visit from my daughter and granddaughter.
As absolutely delighted as I was to see them, I had much work to do at home and was kind of stressing out on how to get it finished with them there.
While my heart wanted to spend every second talking to my oldest daughter and playing with my grandbaby, my mind was distracted by the paper and computer work that awaited me.
Considering how much of her life I have missed thus far due to distance and conflicting schedules, I decided that the importance of the work that needed to be done paled in comparison to the importance of capitalizing on the gift of time that I had been given to be with her for the evening.
I wrestled my stiff and aching body to the floor to spend some time interacting with the two of them.
I watched her play with her toys and listened as she tried to speak the names of the objects her mother was showing her.
I love the sound of her little voice.
I took notice that while my granddaughter had recently learned to stand on her own, she was now taking a step here and there in front of me and then falling.
"She's going to walk," I thought to myself.
On a hunch and a hope, I got my camera out and had my daughter do the same.
We tried to coax her to walk toward us with various toys and open arms, but she was not having any part of it.
Sometimes she just plopped herself down on the carpet and crawled to the object of her attention with her two-toothed, ear to ear smile stretching across her face.
Other times, she became quite annoyed with our attempts and started to whine and shrill as she threw herself backward in protest.
When she finally became fixated on the remote control for the Wii, I knew the time had come.
As I held the controller in my hand, Audrey pulled herself up and stood in front of me smiling and reaching for it in hope that I would hand over her prize.
Being the mean Mimi that I am, I instead tossed it over her head to her mother.
Without missing a beat, Audrey turned around and with arms held out for balance and in readiness to snatch that controller, my nearly 11-month-old grandbaby walked across the living room and into the arms of her mother, who managed to capture the moment on video via her cell phone.
Her mother and I simultaneously squealed with delight that she had reached this milestone in her life.
I felt so lucky and privileged to have been there to witness it but more so to have been in the video that Audrey will one day see; and when she does, she will also see that her Mimi was there, cheering her on.
After things calmed down, I thought about how I almost missed out on that once-in-a-lifetime moment by wanting to be at my desk working instead of making time for what is truly important.
If I didn't pay attention to the signs and opted to simply plug away at my computer, the joy I was feeling and the memory that was forged would have been someone else's.
How many times did we fail to see the "signs" that something incredible was about to happen?
How many wonderful things have we missed out on in life because we didn't make time to experience them?
As we observe the people and the world around us, let us do it with eyes wide open and a willingness (if not desire) to fully participate.
Carpe temporis punctum, good readers.