Tag Archives: birthday

10 Things my 10-Year-Old has Taught Me in 10 Years

Today my first born turns 10. The big 1-0, double digits, serious stuff. And while he’s feeling pretty darn proud and excited, I am too – among feelings of disbelief that a decade has already passed.

I remember clearly the feelings of excitement, anxiety, happiness and fear that came with finding out we were having a baby. A baby! I wasn’t sure I was ready – but it’s one of those life experiences, at least for me, that you just have to dive into – I’d never be ready if I kept thinking about it too much. I was never one of those parents that just knew they wanted to have children. I just figured if it was meant to happen it would, and if not, it wouldn’t. (Easy to say when it happens easily – I have a lot of friends who struggled for years to have children and I have all the respect in the world for the heartache those years brought to them.)

It did happen, and I’m so grateful. Not just for this amazing human that’s in my life every day, but in the things he’s taught me and blessed my life with. They say we’re teaching our children every day, which is true – but they also teach us every day – for those who are willing to listen to the lessons. Profound lessons in little packages. Here are 10 interesting lessons my 10-year-old has taught me in the last 10 years. Happy Birthday, Richie. I love you.

  1. Love is the best gift you can give. No amount of Legos, video games or cool trips can top just sitting on the couch together every night.
  2. When there’s a screen on, creativity is off. I’m not a crazy, no-videos-no-TV Mom by any stretch, but I have learned that when our brains are auto-stimulated by someone else’s story all of the time, we don’t spend much time creating our own. Turning off the TV, iPods, video consoles is a big part of keeping kids creative and thinking.
  3. But there are lessons in everything, even the TV. No, not the Lifetime movie kind of lesson, but interest in how things work – like how movies are made, which leads to using tech to create our own, which leads to a lot of laughs.
  4. Speaking of laughs, do it more often. Parenting has taught me to lighten up and try to find the humor in any situation.
  5. Sometimes, cleaning up [or work] can wait. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Yep, in a minute, right after I [fill in the blank]” only to have missed a moment that I can’t get back.
  6. Don’t just hear, listenIf your son or daughter wants to show you a new trick, dance move or creation – pay attention. How many times have you “uh-huh”‘d them to death while not really listening? I know I want my sons to talk to me openly – as openly as possible – when they get into their teen years, and that setting the stage now means showing them I’m truly listening to what they want to tell me.
  7. Kids deserve the opportunity to express an opinion. Too often we don’t let children say their piece. We’re the parent, we’re the ones who set the rules, they just need to quiet down and listen. Not true. Giving children a voice to express not only how they’re feeling, but how they view the world, is crucial to staying connected with them and helping them to turn into confident young men and women who will lead, not just follow.
  8. Movie nights are made for popcorn. You might have thought it was the other way around. Nope.
  9. Rising early really is nice. I’m a night owl, he’s a morning lark. Which means I used to be a night owl.
  10. A quiet moment can speak volumes. When is the last time you took a walk with your child and just talked? No entertainment, no phones, no iPods. Just you, your child, and the conversation that you’ll be amazed at as it develops. Try it – but don’t forget to listen.

40 Lessons I’ve Learned in 40 Years

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday (as much as I kept hoping it wouldn’t happen). It’s impossible to not see 40 as a milestone – there’s so much stigma associated around that number, especially for women. Just look up “After 40” in the Books section on Amazon.com and you’ll find a plethora of titles geared toward what we can, can’t, shouldn’t or should be doing, wearing, thinking – all after hitting the big 4-0.

I’ll admit I got a little grouchy about it. But after it happened, I didn’t feel any worse – and in fact, felt oddly that this milestone is really one that kicks you in the ass to look around your life and decide if you’re happy with it – and if you’re not, why not and just what the hell are you going to do about it? It has also pushed me to look back and think about what I’ve learned, what I’ve applied from those lessons and what I still need to push myself to do, try, apply, accomplish, or otherwise still explore. Here are 40 things I now know – whether or not I’m applying them (yet).

1) There is never a “right time” for a lot of things: having babies, getting married, starting  your own business. No one can tell you the right time – you just have to trust your gut.

2) People have a lot of opinions – you can listen to them but you can’t live by them or you’ll go insane.

3) It’s okay to say no. (In fact, I should say no more often.)

4) I say “I’m sorry” way too much.

5) No one can prepare you for what it feels like to be a parent and how it will infinitely and constantly change and challenge you.

6) Your childhood experiences stay with you forever – whether you want them to or not. (Remember this often if you are a parent.)

7) There can never be too much: fun, laughter, friendship, food. There can be too much: sun, wine, tears, pressure.

8) Women need to support each other more.

9) Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

10) Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go.

11) There’s never enough time in the day. So learn to manage it better. (I suck at this.)

12) Listen to what your kids say – they have a lot to teach you.

13) Regret is a wasted emotion.

14) For me, true and trusted friends are rare and should be treated with the greatest of appreciation and care and never, ever taken for granted.

15) Truly knowing yourself is one of the greatest things in life.

16) There’s no possible way everyone will like you. And that’s okay.

17) I do not want to discuss religion or politics at any dinner party, ever.

18) Sometimes you need to be selfish.

19) Some people are too selfish. Recognize them and decide if you can accept them the way they are or not – move forward accordingly with them in your life – or not.

20) Music is good for the soul. So is good wine, food and love.

21) Life really is short.

22) You can’t be honest with anyone else if you’re not honest with yourself first.

23) Saving for a rainy day is well and good, but so is having a little fun today.

24) Spend time often with your spouse alone – no matter how much you love your children and think no one on the planet is good enough to babysit.

25) Vacations don’t have to be extravagant. Take a day off, go shopping, have wine with lunch, get a massage, watch a movie – whatever gives you a reprieve from your normal routine and daily stress.

26) You can never say “I love you” too much.

27) Inspiration can be found in unexpected places. (I’m always looking for it in church or conferences and I need to give that up.)

28) My religion is not your religion. And that’s okay. We can share this world – even like each other – anyway.

29) Monsters exist.

30) So do miracles.

31) It’s okay not to get credit – do it anyway.

32) Some things can’t be fixed.

33) The most uncomfortable things are probably the things I need to work on the most.

34) I haven’t been dancing enough.

35) Caring what others think is exhausting.

36) It’s not hard to show someone how much you love them every day.

37) Be careful of your judgmental self. “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

38) I suck at card games.

39) I believe playing hard is just as important, if not more important, than working hard.

40) I still have a lot to learn.