We might learn things quickly, but we often forget things at the same rate.
It was my birthday last week. Not a big one. Just another year passing. I’m getting older. Not unhappily. Not ungratefully. I hope.
So it wasn’t a big milestone, but almost 10 years ago I was on the cusp of becoming a Dad. I think looking backwards too much is only good for one thing: learning. The things I wish I had known. Like building a better wine cellar for starters. Or the wisdom of buying an extra freezer just for the bags of chicken nuggets. Many of these are obvious, maybe cliches, but I like cliches because they are true and few people live up to them.
Here are the 10 cliches I would have told my younger self to be sure to bore his kids with on a daily basis.
Don’t Complain Either do something about it, and if you can’t, shut up about it.
Be Grateful Say ‘thank you’ to everyone and everything.
Don’t Care About What People Think We all die in the end, do you really think it matters what people think of you?
Don’t Be Afraid to Say Yes Don’t be such a wimp. Give it a try.
Be Nice I don’t mean you should be a pushover. Just don’t insult people, or act like an idiot.
Learn Every Day I don’t mean read a book a day. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the people around you.
Think About Others There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy. Don’t always make everything about yourself.
Give Without Expecting Something In Return Don’t keep score. Give solely for the joy of giving. Fill some buckets.
Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously This took me a long, long time and I’m still working on it. Case in point: my reluctance to ever do karaoke, but really, lighten up as much as you can.
Create Something Make music, write a book, build a treehouse, anything. It’s good for the soul.
Spend Time With People You Love That’s your family and best friends. Most people in life are only visitors. You ride or die with family.
Let’s look back and see what we learned on this particular Saturday.
We started the day with extra blankets and nesting while watching the Hotel Transylvania series on Netflix.
I’m not sure why I thought it would be warmer today for the group run. We’d been warned repeatedly that Wednesday and Thursday would be cold, but surely by Saturday it would be warm. So wrong. Still 18 other people as crazy as me showed up.
By the end of the run, I had sweat icicles in my eyelashes and running down my neck. Better than my running partner who had trouble talking because his beard was coated in ice. Hopefully it warms up a little for the OFTM 10 miler in 2 weeks.
Back at home, as if reading my (shivering) mind, the girls were playing “hot tub” in the foyer. What I wouldn’t have given for a hot tub (even a lukewarm one with Danny Glover – long story and only four people will get that reference).
No big buffet breakfast this morning but Cecilia was working the blender for some fruit smoothies. She stressed fruit and wouldn’t let me near the spinach.
Sometimes when you let them be self-sufficient and make their own meals you need to just let the sprinkles fall where they may.
One more week until the test. It’s the final countdown. If you ever want to make Michelle laugh, just mention Arrested Development and Gob.
It was a Haley House weekend so the girls helped me make chili to drop-off tomorrow.
Finally, something from fourth grade I don’t need to look up or re-learn. Cecilia is using Google Slides for her Canada presentation at school. Powerpoint presentations I know how to do. She helped Ally make a slide-show about Ally. There were a lot of different fonts and a lot about mac ‘n cheese.
We interrupt this blog for a spontaneous kitchen dance party.
Next it was off to basketball where Ce’s team’s two game winning streak came to a crashing 34-6 halt.
We hit up the library for a few movies in case my bag of tricks ran dry before Michelle was done studying.
Back at home, the girls and I made some bath bombs. I might have built this up a bit too much to keep them in line during the day. Turns out mixing baking soda, citric acid and glycerin is okay. For about five minutes.
Despite a little bit of a letdown, they came out okay. Dolphin mold worked a little better than the penguin.
We are still enthusiastically playing the trombone.
We are knee deep in sickness season right now. Ally’s after school program came close to double digits strep cases this week, so after the crafts and the music, we basically called it a day, started a fire, and headed back to the couch for some R&R.
Michelle did rally at one point to (very randomly) make fondue.
If you want talk about a let down. Tell the kids dinner is a bucket of melted cheese they can dip things in. Just don’t tell them what kind of cheese it is. Ally…not a fan. There was a lot of dramatic gagging.
We made it up to her with some cookies. Warm cookies can make you forget just about any troubles. Or terrible taste.
And that was it. I’ll spare you another snap of everyone sprawled out like lazy couch puddles. Two of us were couch puddles with wine, of course. Wine and parenting, another cliche, but so, so true.