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life is a balance

I think there are times in life when things just don’t seem to go quite as you had planned or envisioned. I’m at one of those places in my own life as I watch my children one by one disappear from my household. So many people have said things to me over the years like, “Don’t worry, there’s life after children;” “You’ll really enjoy it once you’re kids are grown and you have time to yourself;” “The best is yet to come;” yada, yada, yada. While it’s obviously true that there is life after children, I find myself wondering if it’s a life I would enjoy. Children bring something into your life that no other entity or experience can possibly duplicate. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that this ship is going to sail, with or without me, and I’m the only one who can make it a worthwhile experience. That said; I have compiled a list of many of the wonderful things I have learned through the course of my children’s lives, lessons of life that have served me well over the years and will carry me into this next leg of the journey.

  1. It’s the small things in life that matter.
  2. The destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey.
  3. Life is too short to spend being angry.
  4. Yelling accomplishes nothing except hurt feelings.
  5. Open communication is one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal.
  6. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it always hurts less than a lie.
  7. When the going gets tough, you need someone to love you through it.
  8. Disappointments are many but, in every disappointment, there’s always a lesson to be learned.
  9. Making memories with those you love is vital to building positive relational connections.
  10. Saying “I love you” isn’t enough; showing “I love you” completes the equation.
  11. It’s okay to skip school (or work) from time to time – sometimes we just need a mental health day to recharge.
  12. Words have power – to encourage or debilitate.
  13. We need to love people for who they are, not for what they do.
  14. Talk about sensitive issues long before your child ever confronts the difficult situations life throws at them.
  15. Repetition is important.
  16. One size rule doesn’t fit all.
  17. Pick your battles – there are a lot of them; make sure the ones you fight are worth fighting.
  18. At times, you just need to “be” with someone without saying a word.
  19. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done.
  20. Kisses and hugs aren’t a cure-all, but they sure can be a good bandaid.
  21. Always follow through if you want to teach accountability and responsibility.
  22. Silence can sometimes be even more powerful than that well thought-out lecture.
  23. Love covers a multitude of irritating idiosyncrasies.
  24. Learn to laugh at yourself; you’ll have more fun and so will everyone else.
  25. Never make fun of people; it won’t be funny when you’re on the receiving end.
  26. The television is not a good babysitter.
  27. It’s not the government’s responsibility to censor material you don’t want your child to read, see, or hear.
  28. No matter how strong a person’s character, the lures of the world can be even stronger.
  29. Doors should remain open at all times that a computer is being used.
  30. Be willing to listen even if you think you already know the answer.
  31. One of the best ways to manage behavior is to manage peer groups.
  32. Patience is a must; without it, life is simply unmanageable.
  33. After you have children, your life is no longer your own; every minute is measured by them.
  34. Human beings have the capacity for great emotional outbursts, all within the span of 30 seconds.
  35. Children are our heartbeats.

So, as I prepare for the navigational experience looming on the horizon, I relish in the compilation of seconds, moments, hours, days, months, and years that have given me a lifetime of unforgettable, take-your-breath-away, memories.