Tag Archives: family

Today, a Tragedy.

Today

I will be a little more patient.

I will be a lot more tolerant.

I won’t sweat the small stuff.

I will hug my kids more than usual.

I’ll let them get crazy loud and goofy and I will not stress out about it.

Their voices sound sweeter.

Their faces look more kissable.

Their silliness more funny than usual.

Their messiness a gift from heaven.

Tomorrow

I will thank God for a new day.

I will kiss my children more than usual.

I will heed the reminders I have around my home to embrace the moment.

I will work harder to forgive. To love. To smell the flowers.

Today’s crime is unspeakable.

It is unfathomable.

It isn’t the first of its kind.

It won’t be the last.

I will question God.

I will question humanity.

I will question government.

And I will pray – even when I’m angry and unsure.

I will accept that life will never be free of violence and killing.

I will do my best to shield my children and my loved ones from such horrors.

And I will take action. Through voting, through paying attention to ALL the issues (let’s talk about mental health care, not just gun control), by educating my children on how to deal with negative feelings (theirs or others’  toward them) of anger, isolation, or fear. By teaching them to deal with such life horrors while still keeping some kind of faith. (So not easy.)

But for today – I will hug and kiss and smother my children with love.

I will wonder, “why?” like they did when I told them what happened.

I will continue to put them first.

I will continue to check on them and give a forehead kiss EVERY SINGLE NIGHT we’re together when I go to bed, like I have since the days they were born.

And I will continue to bombard my followers and “friends” with photos of my boys.

Maybe more than usual for a while.

But I’m sure you’ll understand.

Image

Photo by Mim Adkins, Art of Life

And I will never, ever, ever take them for granted.

And I will pray for the children lost, the families who grieve.

I will share in the anger, the frustration, the wonder at why, why, why.

And like you, I will never, ever understand.

Mother’s Day: Having a Mom, Being a Mom

Happy Mother’s Day! I didn’t want to write something political or overly dramatic, too feminist or sappy. But I did want to lament on the best things I’ve learned about having a Mom and being a Mom.

Thank you to my Mom, Robin, for the many great lessons she’s taught me in 41 years of life. I’m still learning – because she’s still learning! Some lessons were taught on purpose and some – maybe the most poignant – were inadvertently taught through her own life experiences. Sometimes you don’t learn these types of things until you’re older and you look back with a more understanding viewpoint. It’s why this is one of my favorite quotes:

“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 at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” (Attributed by Reader’s Digest, Sept. 1937)

Some of the greatest things my Mother has taught me include:

Always try new things (Like last summer when she, at the age of 65 and after double hip surgeries, got up on my standup paddle board!)

Food is good (I’m so grateful I had a beautiful mother who, by the grace of her own interests, taught me the opposite of what all those beauty magazines and ads shove down girls’ throats)

– Sometimes you just have to put yourself first, even when it’s uncomfortable. And it’s OK. (This is one of those inadvertent lessons…)

Don’t judge others, just accept them. We are all on our own paths.

 

Thanks Mom!

On the flip side, and it bears repeating, being a mother has also taught me a lot. And I know I have many more lessons coming. But some of the best things my sons have taught me are:

Patience beyond what I previously understood to be patience

Humor (Lighten up, Mom!)

Live in the moment (I know, I’ve said it before but it is so true – the moment passes and you can’t get it back)

Teamwork (Yes, okay, I knew this one – but the past year, as we adjusted to a new family dynamic, we’ve become quite a team)

– Sometimes, you’ve just got to eat a donut.

Thanks to my Mom and my boys for making Mother’s Day special for me. I hope if you’re a mother, that today reminds you of how blessed you are to have that life experience. It is an ongoing lesson in itself, if you’re willing to recognize it as such.

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.

Happy Mother’s Day and Huge Thanks to My Mom!

This video is for my Mom. I don’t think it needs a lot of words… but if I were to add some, they’d be along these lines: Thanks for teaching me to be tough and tenacious. To have a sense of humor – and great appreciation for one. For making me stand on my own when I just wanted to hide under the covers (or behind your skirt, as a child). Thank you for giving me an appreciation for the outdoors, even against my will. Thank you for teaching me to be open-minded and honest, and for teaching me the power of forgiveness and acceptance.

Thank you for being honest with me, and teaching me honesty. Thank you for not painting my world with a bunch of flowers all the time – that’s not reality…. and it made me more prepared for life. Thank you for giving me an appreciation for the good things in life: great food, wine, art, nature, love. And for teaching me that those good things can overcome the bad.

Thank you for working so hard to make our family whole. Thank you for hosting Christmas for oh, at least 40 some years. 🙂 Thank you for teaching me how to stay strong in tough times and giving me a sense of stubbornness that has served me well. And, that although life is far from perfect, there are amazing things that can happen every day.

I hope I can teach my kids all the wonderful things you’ve shared with me – and be at least as good a mother as you are. I love you.

Snow Day

I had an amazing weekend enjoying the snow that’s been falling for days. Snow is one of those things that you have to take advantage of while you can, so for three days I bundled up with the boys and got out to play. What a great way to usher in a New Year – with reminders to laugh more, remember what’s most important and take advantage of opportunities to play with your children when you can.

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