Before having children I always imagined what important life lessons I would impart on each of them. How I would teach my sons to respect women and be chivalrous. How my daughters would learn that women are capable of anything they set their mind to. What I had not anticipated, EVER, was how many life lessons my kids would end up teaching me.
5 Things I Learned from My Kids
1. The Meaning of Unconditional Love
After adopting my son from Ethiopia in 2010 my life went topsy turvy. My 2 year old son turned out to be closer to 4 and he came home with a much more traumatic past than I had anticipated. His transition into our family was an intense battle to say the least. And, one that led me to find his biological family in Ethiopia and take him to visit them. (yup turned out he knew they were alive). Going to all lengths to allow my son to see his family again I learned that love really knows no boundaries. I knew he needed them and I knew I had to do everything in my power to make that happen. Even though I feared losing him.
2. How to Have Fun
Kids are born with the amazing natural ability to find fun wherever they go. Whether they turn a boring errand into a fantasy hero challenge or use their breadstick as a sword. They are constantly looking at the world through crazy clown glasses. They are constantly laughing and sincerely enjoy life. My kids force me to be goofy and silly and for that I am eternally grateful!
3. To Slow Down
With 5 kids, 2 businesses, a blog and traveling all over the world my days and nights
(okay let's be honest my weeks and even months) all end up running together. I feel like I am constantly looking for ways to stretch the hours in my days. Squeeze in one last email or social media post. And, then there are these 5 incredible people who stop me dead in my tracks and force me to watch an ant carrying a leaf or bubbles floating through the sky. They demand that I join them in star gazing camp outs and epic Snap Chat face offs. And, I enthusiastically accept their invitations because as lost as I get in the chaos I love being reminded to slow down and breathe.
4. How to Be Brave
Nothing will kick in your ability to be brave than when you have to stand up for your child. I am a total introvert (like wall flower/ hide my face/ I don't want to go anywhere by myself introvert). After adopting my two black children I have come across multiple circumstances where I had to suck up my bashfulness and speak up. Speak up so my children know how valuable they are. Speak up against racism, intolerance and ignorance. As the years have passed I have developed a much tougher skin. I am braver and bolder and it is because I have these amazing lives who are counting on me.
5. Collect Moments
They always say kids grow up too fast. But, honestly you blink and it's over. For reals- its CRAZY! I feel like each year passes at an ever increasing speed. So, a few years ago when my daughter decided all she wanted was a trip for her birthday I jumped at the chance. That tiny wish from a 6 year old girl monumentally impacted our family. We began collecting moments instead of things. Birthday and Christmas boxed gifts became envelopes that held experiences to be had together as a family. This life lesson that my daughter introduced to our family has led to a career change for me and an entire lifestyle shift for all of us. We became happier and our family bond grew all from a lesson learned by a 6 year old.
So, as much as my life has changed since having kids. The one change I am most grateful for is having a child around to inspire and remind me how to truly LIVE.