Some fun facts:
- Megan came 2 weeks late. Kristen went into labor the morning after we went out to an Indian buffet with our friends Jason and Bambi. I’ve always claimed I was in labor the next day, too.
- It’s a girl! From the moment we found out we were pregnant with Megan we knew it was a girl. But we had 3 ultrasounds that all said she was a boy. In video right after she was born you can hear me calling her… Paul. So Megan came home from the hospital in a Notre Dame jersey and spent her first year in a blue and gold nursery surrounded by pictures of Knute Rockne.
- We missed Anne’s wedding! My cousin Anne married her longtime boyfriend Brad the same day. It was pretty cool to that my extended family was all together when we announced Megan’s birth.
- Kristen’s parents hauled booty! When Kristen went into labor with Megan her parents had our nephew Jake at the Detroit Zoo. They quickly took him home and boogied to Chicago. Dave & Kathy made it about 2 hours after she was born, right on time.
- Megan loved Gospel music. I spent the night with Megan in Northwestern’s nursery. We discovered that night that she loved Gospel music and R&B, something we popped into her stereo to calm her down as a baby. That’s also the night she got her nickname, “Sha-me-me.”
Today we are celebrating Megan. We are also celebrating 11 years of being parents. Paul came 2 years later an Jackson joined the party 10 years later after Megan. Along the way we’ve learned a thing or two about parenting. I won’t say we are the best parents in the world… but we haven’t left a kid at the mall yet so that’s pretty darn good.
- We are all God’s kids. We’ve never been “rah-rah, we’re big and your small” kinds of parents. Actually, we have tried that and it didn’t work. What works for us is teaching our kids who we are. We are children of God who obey God’s rules.
- There are no “big deals.” Holy smokes there is a lot of horrible parenting advice out there. The mommy blogger phenomenon is ripe with false expert advice. When Megan was born all the good yuppy mommies quit their jobs and put their babies on very strict schedules. I think we’ve done a good job to avoid the fads, skip the drama, and just relax about parenting.
- We’ve kept our lives. True, at 35 years old and with 3 young kids, Kristen and I don’t have a huge social schedule. But we’ve always kept our friends and put put the kids second. We’ve never made idols of them and have always agreed that a healthy marriage will lead to healthy kids. (Even if they miss out on some things.)
- We don’t lie to our kids. Yes, we’ve kept things from them. They don’t need to know everything that’s going on… we don’t overshare. But we never lied to them about little things like Santa or the Tooth Fairy because we want them to know that mom and dad are always honest with them. In the past year or so we’ve also been bringing them in on money discussions. They know how our business works, what our goals are, etc. Even when we bought our van a few weekends ago– Paul knew exactly what our budget was and helped me do the math on figuring out what we would offer for it.
- We go to church, end of story. Off and on our lives have completely revolved around our church. Right now is probably the least involved we’ve ever been… but we still go to church twice per week! There will come a point when they can chose whether to go or not. But at 11, 8, and 1… they don’t get to chose because we just go.
- You only live once. While our family keeps things pretty simple we still like to take some risks. We want our kids to know that life isn’t just about living safe. So we build in them a spirit of adventure in how we live and make decisions.
- We nurture personality, not shape their reality. As a pastor, I was sickened when I met parents who tried to orchestrate their kids lives. They’d come into my office and tell me how their plan was different than what their kid wanted… “Well, that’s not going to work.” I’d always share my philosophy… “I want my kids to grow up to lead happy, healthy, and simple adult lives and work backwards from that.” How can I help them become a happy adult? A healthy adult emotionally, physically, socially, and sexually? How can I help them live a simple life satisfied with God’s will for them?”
These are the things we’re learning about parenthood. What do you agree with or disagree with? What would you add?