1. Sunscreen really does need to be applied often. The older three boys and I spent yesterday at America's largest waterpark. Having suffered many sunburns as a child and fully aware of the risks of the sun, I'm usually pretty good about protecting the boys' skin. After all, they're light-skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed cuties; if ever there was a likely-to-burn model, it's my boys. So even though it was cloudy when we arrived, we slathered on waterproof SPF 50.
We did not, however, pause to reapply. Let me just say this: SPF 50 does not provide all day protection, especially when you're repeatedly immersed in water.
2. Bravery can be learned from six-year-olds. At age 6, Boy #3 is a little young for a number of the rides at Noah's Ark. But as Boy #3, he was determined to hang with his brothers as much as possible. Sting Ray, though, looked a bit intimidating to him; even though he met the height requirement, he decided to pass. Which was OK with me, because Sting Ray features an almost-straight down drop at the start, and I wasn't crazy about the idea either.
But then my little blue-eyed, pink-cheeked cutie looked up at me and said, "I want to conquer my fear. I don't want to let fear rule my life."
So we climbed the stairs (me lugging the heavy, double inflatable tube with specially-designed head-and-neck protection) and Boy #3, upon seeing the almost-sheer drop, almost backed out. Almost. He was scared, but when I asked if he still wanted to go, he nodded his head yes.
The attendant shoved us off -- and the look on my son's face was one of sheer terror. In his own words: "I almost started crying." But then the ride started leveling off, and the fear was replaced with joy. When the ride stopped, my brave little six-year-old said, "You can't let fear rule your life."
Turns out he gathered his wisdom from the Disney channel.
3. Losing someone you care about hurts. This morning, my best friend's mother died. She's had leukemia for awhile and was recently told that a bone marrow transplant was no longer an option. We knew the end was in sight, but still...
This is a woman I've known, literally, since my birth. She sang to me (lullabies when I slept over at their house), celebrated birthdays with me and mentored my oldest son -- you know, my 11-year-old entrepreneur. When, at the age of six, he decided to sell produce at our local Farmer's Market, she took him under her wing. They spent many Wednesday mornings together while she taught him about gardening and life. Most of all, she welcomed and accepted him. Now she's gone, and we both feel a void in our lives.