For the last few weeks, my 9-year-old has been wanting to use a remote control to either make the days go backward so he can relive Christmas or New Year's, or go forward to his birthday or to when he'll be 16 like his older brother.
Then there are the days when he wants to pause time such as Valentine's Day, when we ate chocolate cake and exchanged silly cards, or when we take a walk on the beach or play outside together as a family.
Frankly, I don't blame him. I've been wanting my own remote control for life for as long as I can remember. Especially now that I'm a parent.
Wouldn't it be great if we could fast-forward through the sleepless nights of the newborn weeks and skip to the cute three-month-old days? Is your teen giving you attitude? Go back to the days when he was a sweet toddler singing along with "Blues Clues." Pause the moments when you're giggling with your kids, or when they share a secret or say, "I love you, Mommy."
As I watch my three children morph from babies and kids into tweens and teens, I become more and more aware that my time with them is somewhat limited. Their world is expanding, and more and more people are entering their spheres of influence.
I can't help but remember what it felt like when I was their ages. I was obsessed with making my dreams come true. Now that I'm a parent, I think about how I can help them achieve their dreams. And though I still have wishes for myself, I find that most of my wishes are for them.
Tom, Lizzy and Peter, this is what I wish for you:
That you each fall deeply and profoundly in love. The type of love that makes you not able to eat or sleep. The dizzying, electric, all-consuming love that makes your heart skip a beat every time the person walks into the room. And I wish that they feel the same for you.
That the person you fall madly in love with is the person you get to spend your life with. I've been lucky enough to have that with your dad, and it's a gift I truly want for each of you. Don't settle for less.
May you find something you love to do, and do it well enough to earn a living at it. People aren't kidding when they say that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. And once you find that, don't let anyone -- including me or your dad -- deter you.
Surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are. Don't waste your time on people who try to make you into something else. This is a lesson that took me a while to learn. My wish for you is that it's doesn't take you as long.
Don't spend too much time trying to be somebody you're not. The sooner you're clear on what you love, from the food you eat, to the courses in school you really want to take, to the jobs you accept, the happier you'll be.
Find something you believe deeply in and spend your time making it become a reality. Don't worry if it seems too big to achieve. And don't let anyone tell you it's a waste of time.
Enjoy the process of getting to where you want to go. That's where the fun lies. It might sound appealing to have a fast-forward or rewind button in life and speed past the harder or more difficult parts. But these are usually the times where some of your biggest and best lessons will be learned. Once you achieve a goal, you'll find another, bigger, better one to set your sites on. Appreciate and celebrate even the smallest milestones.
Don't let fear guide your life. Is there a new class that sounds interesting, but you think it might be too hard? Want to audition for the school play, or ask out the girl in your math class? Is it your dream to move to the mountains or the city? Remember, it's totally normal to get scared, especially when you try something new. My wish is that you do it anyway.
Remember these are my wishes for you. Don't be afraid to make your own. Don't worry if they're different from mine.