I met my wife a month before I turned 30, and we got married two years later. Fast forward to last week, I turned 37, and we are approaching our 5th wedding anniversary. Life is a lot different now than it was 7 or even 5 years ago. I have traded my time with friends for time with my wife and kids. Instead of sleeping in on the weekends I now awake to punches in the gut from my 4 year-old at 6 a.m. or crying from my daughter. Life is challenging some days, but I wouldn’t trade my family for anything.
At our house, we have the tradition of sharing birthday wisdom, something you’ve learned in the past year. Your wisdom doesn’t have to be deep or profound, but it does have to be genuine. In honor of my 37th birthday, I thought I would share 5 pieces of birthday wisdom with you.
1. The best gifts come in unusual packages.
The most unexpected part of my birthday this year was my card from Anna and the kids. Normally Anna gets me a very nice and thoughtful card. She also has the kids color on it and sometimes she even traces their hands on the inside of the card. This year, she gave the birthday card to Jude and told him to drawn on it for Daddy. 5 minutes later, she received the card back in this format.
She hadn’t even written in the card yet. He was soooo proud of what he did and “wrapped” it for my birthday. Shocked and without a backup card, Anna agreed to add the card with my birthday presents.
That night, Anna gave me my card and told me what happened. I couldn’t stop laughing. The card was priceless just the way it was. To be honest, I still haven’t opened the card. I have received a lot of mileage out the card by sharing the story with family and friends. I’m sure it was a very nice and thoughtful card, but I just can’t bring myself to unwrap it.
2. Hide your cake.
My in-laws came to visit us this past weekend. We celebrated my birthday and Mother’s Day. As with every birthday in our family, my mother in-law creates one of her famous cakes. She is known by her family, friends, and co-workers for her amazing baking and cooking skills. For my birthday this year, she made me a Strawberry Cream Cake.
I love all the cakes that she makes: chocolate, confetti, peanut butter and jelly, turtle cake, but my favorite is the Strawberry Cream Cake. It’s the kind of cake that you can eat all day long. Just ask Jude. The morning after we celebrated my birthday with my in-laws, we found Jude sitting on the couch eating cake. This isn’t the first time that he has helped himself to leftover birthday cake in the refrigerator. After seeing him relaxing on the couch and eating cake, my wife and I were curious to see what the rest of the cake looked like. After opening the refrigerator, we found this.
Surprisingly, there was no mess in the refrigerator or house. That is pretty impressive for a four year old. Luckily, Anna was able to save what was left of the cake.
3. Cowboy boots plus shorts equals 2018 summer fashion trend.
With the cold spring we have had this year, I haven’t had to mow the yard as early in the year as I have had to in the past. This year, Jude decided that he wanted to mow in different footwear other than his Crocs that he lives in all summer long. 2018 is the year of the cowboy boots.
The boy doesn’t lack confidence. Watch out for the new fashion trend that is sure to make a splash this summer. If you want to get ahead of the curve like Jude, put on your cowboy boots and shorts, and let the odd stares from the neighbors begin.
4. You can eat a lot of food with only 4 teeth.
Teaching Adelaide to eat baby food was a struggle. Anna and I tried feeding her rice cereal only to have in go in her mouth and then come out the sides. We also tried feeding her pureed sweet potatoes, green beans, and applesauce. All were no-goes.
We were hesitant to give her food in general because she didn’t have any teeth at the time. Slowly, we introduced broken up Cheerios, mashed up avocados, bananas, and scrambled eggs. By the time she reached 13 months of age, she finally had her first tooth. Now at 15 months, she has 4 teeth and eats like she has all her teeth. She can plow through a plate of food in minutes.
5. The best shot takes time, help, and a little luck.
Getting photos of the kids is a process to say the least. Thankfully, our photographer has a lot of patience and a large memory card in her camera. For every good picture (a picture where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling) there are 10 to 20 photos of kids crying, not smiling, facing the wrong direction, or grabbing each other. It’s like herding cats trying to get the kids heading in the same direction some days. Like most things in life, we get where we are going. It may take more time than we had planned, needing help from family or friends, and a little luck along the way, but we have fun.
Being a dad of two is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. With the help of my wife, family, and friends I am learning to be the best dad that I can be.