Like when I come upon something like this:
Or especially this:
It's chasing Benjamin around to get him dressed and hearing his belly laugh; watching him bite and hug his blankie because he's so excited to see it; listening to Jacob tell me about how he sometimes lays in his bed and daydreams in the mornings while he's waiting for the time when he's allowed to get up; knowing that he's making me a home made birthday present that isn't done yet but has had a lot of time put into it already.
These are the moments that catch me off guard and remind me of the joy that is always around me. When I'm not listening to Jacob through the voice that is already talking and assuming things in my head, I can hear the boy who is so curious about the world around him, so sensitive to others, so generous and loving. The boy who loves laughing and playing with us and who is beginning to take in the world and change it in his own head, with his own already talking voice.
Hearing Benjamin's ready laughter that comes from the simplest of things (touches, looks, sounds) and seeing this human being who is only in each moment of his life, always, reminds me to stop looking ahead but to be here, now, also. To listen to that laughter that will change. To see that face smile and cry and communicate in ways that are also changing every day. To hold his little pudgy body and squeeze him into me, smell his face that holds the scents of whatever he's eaten most recently. These are the moments of joy that exist all the time, free for the taking.
These are the best birthday gifts of all.