We put so much pressure on making sure we raise our kids right. That we’re guiding lights teaching them respect, patience, and most of all kindness. Our kids are learning from us, right?

So how come there’s so much I’ve learned from them in the short time we’ve been together?

The youthful innocence we felt like we were just in, all of sudden is overshadowed by adult grief and doubt. When did life get so hard? And are we ultimately making it harder than it should be?

Life is forced to slow down when you have kids. I know it seems impossible, but really it does. Because if you don’t allow it to, you miss it. You miss them needing you to hold them, wanting to hold your hand, and looking at you like only you exist.

And with these gifts, I’ve also learned so much more than expected. Treasures that make parenting the most rewarding job you could have.

1. Making friends is really easy.

I mean, it really is. Where did we as adults screw it up? Go up to someone, chase them around or laugh along like they’re part of the group and then you’re in. I know it doesn’t exactly work like that now, but when did it get so hard to just bond with someone else? We all want companionship, so when did a simple smile and small talk to evolve a friendship become a thing that was impossible to do?

Kids, you make life with others seem so easy and I’m trying to follow your lead to make it that easy too.

2. Daily activities can be great adventures.

Because everything is so brand new. You’re still learning about this great big place we live in, and really so am I. So why shouldn’t everything we do be an adventure? When did life get to be so tedious that we lost all the fun in our days? Why can’t a trip to a new store be as exciting as a cross country vacation?

You make me find joy in the simplest thing and you are allowing me to see life through those rose-colored lenses too.

3. Have dessert before dinner.

Because you only live once, and quite honestly, every so often it won’t hurt a thing. Because one day you will be watching that number on the scale and you’ll appreciate all the days in your youth when you got to sneak in a treat before dinner. Because in the amount of time it took you to eat it, you’d also burn it off running laps around the house.

You remind me to indulge a bit, and then work it off with things that bring me joy, because that’s what it’s about.

4. I’m allowed to be a winner.

Life’s not always going to be easy, so if I can make up games and tell myself I won, let me. Even if it’s for my own gain to make me push myself harder. I’m not always going to win at everything, and that truth is going to set in fast.

But for now, let me be a winner and tell me how great I am because I tried really hard to get here.

5. I can be anything I want to be.

And who says you can’t? Well, we do, one day. When we start to realize that the career aspirations that you dreamed up as a child are no longer subtle as an adult. But who’s to say it’s not? We want the very best for you, but we’re also not you. There are so many opportunities nowadays from dreams that were once only imagined, why should I tell you can’t be who you want to be?

And why should I tell myself that either—I’m not done growing up and still figuring out who I can be, so I’ll join you in this journey of imagination and let’s see where we get together.

6. You’re allowed to be scared.

Because I still am, too. There are things in this world I don’t understand and things I cannot control. And if I let them, they’d haunt me every day. But I know I have to be stronger for you. But you’re allowed to feel scared because I do, too. I’m just showing you how to be strong and at the same time making myself stronger.

Life can be scary at times, and if we only learn how to work through it together, it won’t seem all that scary after all.

7. Loving is unconditional.

I don’t think I ever understood this until I met you. A love so big it takes over your every being. How from the minute I met you, you became my world and I don’t remember one where you did not exist. Nor do I want to.

I will love you through and through because I know that’s how you feel about me, too. And I know that will never change.

You have taught me so much more than who I can be, but who I am. And how great it is to stop and smell the roses every day with you.

So, thank you, kids, for reminding me how simple life is and how fun it is doing it with you.

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Pri Walker

Pri Walker is based out of Orlando, Florida, where she indulges in all the simple joys that life has to offer. She, her husband, and their two young children are avid world travelers, fun seekers, and always yearning to learn through experience. Her passion to write comes from her love to get lost in a good book. She is proud owner and writer at Adventure Somewhere, where she documents her family's travels and inspires others to take the trip.