Birthday thoughts on sleep, peas, potty training, and combat boots

Almost a year ago, for my birthday, I wrote a self-indulgent, little list of my lessons learned in the past decade.  I’m not normally one to repost a blog post but I’m fairly certain I had ten followers at the time (all immediate family) so it’s almost like a new post, right?  (Hey, it’s my birthday.  Go with it.) 

Things I’ve learned in the past decade:

  • Sleep is precious.
  • I will never like fish or peas, not even when I get older.
  • Sometimes the only thing to say is “I’m sorry.”
  • I miss camouflage and combat boots.
  • Marriage isn’t supposed to be romantic. (It’s bigger than roses and candlelight anyway!)
  • Parenting magazines stress me out.
  • There’s power in small acts of kindness.
  • No matter how much I get rid of before a move there will always be a box (or ten) filled with stuff that wasn’t worth moving across the country.
  • Real friends are the people I can call after years of not talking and feel like we picked up mid-conversation.
  • There but for the grace of God, go I.
  • I am not good at potty training.
  • I am, however, good at house training dogs. Go figure.
  • I will never understand how the Internet works.
  • My kids hear everything.
  • Some short-cuts are worth taking.
  • Everybody is NOT looking at me.
  • There is never enough time.
  • There is no mandatory pt in the civilian world so I’m solely responsible for finding time to exercise.
  • “Life is too short” is not an excuse to live recklessly; it’s the reason to live thoughtfully.
  • Parenting is not easy.
  • Never let kids see their schoolwork or art in the trash.
  • I should never leave a room without putting away at least one thing. If there’s nothing to put away, I need to look around carefully because I’ve possibly walked into the wrong house.
  • This too shall pass is true, no matter what “this” is

A year has gone by since I wrote this list and it’s been quite a year.  I’ve relearned some of these things and had to put some of them into action like never before.  I hope to learn less in the next year.  Life lessons are exhausting!

What life lessons have I missed?

Be a man

Sometimes fathers are heroes.  Sometimes grandfathers are rescuers.  Most of the time they’re just men who let their lives be changed forever by the birth of a child. 

(Click here to read the excellent post I read this morning about a father who describes this better than I ever could.)

Happy Father’s Day to:

  • Men who know that “be a man” means so much more than shooting and spitting
  • Men who step in to parent in place of other men who can’t or won’t
  • Women who parent without partners
  • Men who know that their time and attention is just as crucial as their paycheck
  • Fathers who paint toenails, explode volcanoes, build pirate ships, and otherwise prioritize making memories
  • Grandfathers who, while utterly exhausted by their grandchildren, take delight in their craziness and hear music in their laughter
  • Uncles who spend their leave from work sorting through a broken home and damaged belongings to bring their nieces and nephews back to normal after a tornado
  • Other uncles and family members who realize the importance of their presence in the life of a child
  • Grandfathers who jump into pools clothed, start inappropriate dinner conversations, and play the guitar for dancing grand-daughters all for the sake of love, joy, and laughter
  • Grandfathers who are loving but, to quote my daughter Emily, in less “ridiculous” ways
  • Dads who love their children more than their own lives and , in dramatic and less dramatic ways, live accordingly every single day

 May your day be filled with appreciation, gratitude, and ridiculous love!

Tea parties, missing front teeth, glitter, and Harry Potter: Perfection

“Know how to live the time that is given you.” – Dario Fo

I’ve had time on my mind lately.  There is nothing more finite.  You get 60 minutes to each hour, 24 of those in a day and that’s it – no one gets any more or less than anyone else.  Time is a great equalizer.

I planned to write tonight about being intentional in the way we spend our time, and about being aware of other people’s time because their 24 hours are just as important as ours.  But, instead, all I can think about tonight, in relation to time, are the three kids sound asleep down the hallway.

I’ve made the conflicting wishes every parent makes: to speed through a certain phase or to pause at a certain age for just a bit longer. But, ultimately, I want time to slow down and my kids to stay little until I’m ready for them to be big.

I have an eight-year old son and he still (don’t tell) occasionally cuddles with me.  It’s becoming increasingly rare and I always think to myself that this may be it – the final time he allows himself to be little enough to cuddle up with his mom.  And so I drink it in.  I can’t slow time but I slow myself to fully absorb the moment.

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C. S. Lewis

Today was a day filled with tea parties, missing front teeth, glitter, Harry Potter, dolls, Godzilla, time outs, snacks, hugs, kisses, ouches, stickers, rough-housing, whining, twirling, joke-telling, and question asking.  Today was perfect.  Today was a day I lived with my eyes opened.  I stored it away because soon, before I’m ready, those things will be replaced by other things like driver’s licenses, dating, and college applications.

I hope I remember that tomorrow.  I hope I take the time again to drink it up.  Take it in.  Slow down and be there.

Molly at play
Slow down, Baby Girl!