Life in Ten Lessons

While taking photos of the kitchen remodel of our rent house, I dropped — and broke — our camera. That was about three months ago. The camera has been sitting in New Jersey at the Fuji repair depot for at least two months while we’ve tried to decide: fix or replace. Hem. Haw. Tick-tock-tick-tock.

In that time, of course, we’ve missed several precious photo ops. My personal fav was the afternoon the dimple brigade spread an entire bottle of baby powder all over Tristan’s room — and themselves. They had a great time. And I got nothin’.

As if that weren’t bad enough, in my grand aspirations of returning to regular blogging, I overlooked the slight detail that many of my previous posts were commentary or exposition on photos or videos I’d taken. Not only am I out precious memories for the time being, I’m scrapping the bottom for subject matter for my blog posts, too.

Now that Scott has narrowed it down to four possible cameras to buy, I’m hopeful we can get this decision knocked out before Griffin’s college graduation. But in the meantime, I’ve racked the attic: What on earth can I blog about that isn’t based on a picture or a video of my two-man wrecking crew?

Which got me thinking about my parents.

So much of my adult life has been an experiment in incredulity as I get to know lots of people whose parents fall somewhere on the spectrum between mildly self-absorbed and abusive psychopath. There are some folks out there who’ve really had a number done on them by their parents. Two words come to mind: Can’t. Relate.

Randy Pausch, in his Last Lecture, talked about feeling like he’d won the “parent lottery.” Now thatI can understand. My childhood was amazing. Monetarily speaking, it was limited. But it was so rich in experience I would shop at Aldi the rest of my life if I could guarantee the same for my kids.

So much of my life has been blessed by the simple good start I was given, through no fault of my own. If I’ve made even one good decision, one intelligent move in my entire life, it’s because I had parents who cared enough to teach me some pretty life-altering and vitally important things — beforeI was teenaged enough to start thinking they were monumentally stupid or completely insane. Or both. Timing is critical.

Which got me thinking about my kids.

What does it all amount to for me now, as a parent? How can I make sure my kids get the same good foundation — or as close to it — as I got? So I’ve been reflecting on what, exactly, it was that my parents taught me. Not just the  “Look both ways before you cross the street” kind of stuff. The formative values that shaped who I grew up to become but that many (too many, I’m realizing) of my peers did not hear about from their parents.

I didn’t take me much time at all to jot down a list of lessons that have shaped my life in a significant way. And I hope to blog about them because: 1) They say such a lot about who I am, and after all, this is all about me; 2) They say such a lot about who my parents are and is an easy way for me to give them their due props without interruption; and 3) I don’t have a working camera.

In the end, there may be more than ten lessons. But I have ten at the moment and by my calculations, that should keep me in blog topics until we either buy a new camera or we hit the Christmas season when we can count on relatives with cameras to supply me with visual distractions again.

Either way, I hope there are thousands of other people out there who learned similar lessons from their parents. And are passing them on to their own children. Because my boys will need wives someday. Good ones. Not insecure, self-absorbed, materialistic space cadets. Now Accepting Applications.

So that’s the preface. To be continued with…

Lesson #1: “The world does not revolve around you.”

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