I was once traveling in a van full of people, including my oldest daughter, her husband, and my two-year-old granddaughter, Sharon. When Sharon got fussy, I moved to sit next to her and said: “Let’s sing!” Right away, she quieted down and we proceeded to sing her favorite song, “Quacky the Duck.”

“Again, Grandma!” Once, twice, twenty times, until everyone in the van was begging her to change the song, to which she replied every time: “Again, Grandma!” At the next stop, her mom bought some snacks to distract her, to the relief of all. But 14 years later, I still remember the great time we had, while she enjoyed the song and I enjoyed her contentment.

Last month, my youngest granddaughter, Diana, came to spend an afternoon with me. She’s three and as bright and full of energy as Sharon was at her age. I invited her to accompany me to the market, to which she replied: “Only if the turtle goes too!” This turtle is a huge stuffed toy that her mom left at my house, since she lives in a small apartment where the toy community is already well populated.

When we got to the market, I tried to put her in a cart with the turtle, but she insisted on putting the turtle in a small cart and pushing it all by herself. She placed the toy to face her, so she could see its face the whole time. As soon as we got home, she asked me for crayons and paper and proceeded to draw a surprisingly faithful reproduction of her turtle.

She drew the triangular head, the pink skin, the purple mouth, the two eyes with outside and inside circles, like the originals, and then the hair. I had never noticed the turtle was pink, and especially that it had hair, although it had been on my couch for months. It was a work of art for a three-year-old, which I proudly showed the whole family and hung on my wardrobe door.

In his book God Came Near, Max Lucado describes such moments so well: “These are eternal instants. Moments that remind us of the treasures around us. Moments that rebuke us for wasting time with temporal preoccupations, like money, properties, or punctuality. That can bring a mist to the eyes of the hardest hearts and give new perspective to the most gloomy life.”