As I mentioned last week, I spend Memorial Day weekend at my sister’s.  She lives way up in the countryside of New Jersey and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to get together.  The weather was absolutely perfect.

While celebrating, I took lots of pictures.  Going through them today, I was reminded of a few life reminders that I am going to share with you.

#1- Childless people don’t dislike kids

Life Reminders

Top left: Me and my niece Morgan, Top Right: Me and my niece Avery, Bottom: My nephew, Evan (back to the camera) who learned how to play beer pong this weekend. Don’t ask. And, don’t worry, he has no idea that this game involves beer.

As you most likely know, my husband and I don’t have children.   If you are on Facebook, you have probably seen a post, or two…million, about childless women.  We’re studied like lab rats.  I don’t know why women who have decided to not have children, for whatever reason, is such a highly discussed and debated topic.  I really don’t care what people assume about me, like I am selfish, that I will never know what true love is, or that I don’t have my priorities straight.  Whatever.  The only thing that bothers me is when people assume that those who don’t have kids don’t like them.  This is a total lie.  Well, sure, some people dislike kids, but to paint all childless people with such a broad brushstroke is unfair.

I am an aunt to four of the most wonderful children in the world, three  of whom are my sister’s and one who is my sister-in-law’s child.  Not having children, my husband and I can completely devote ourselves to our nieces and nephew.  When we show up at events we’re not burdened by our own offspring and we get to be the fun adults.  Plus, we also get to bring a different flavor and perspective to the lives of these kids.  Children rarely grow up with childless adults around them.  I quite like showing my nieces and nephew that there is an alternative way to be a grown up, not that it is preferred, or that they should never have children, but that they do have options.  I do believe that every child should have  at least one childless person in their life for this reason.

#2- The friends you make when you are a kid will likely be your friends forever

Life Reminders In a time of mean girls and bullying, it was so refreshing to see a group of girls so supportive and kind.  This is a photo I took of my niece (center, under the table) and all her friends who were at the party this weekend.  It reminded me that the friends you make when you are a kid are likely to be the friends you have for the rest of your life.   The dearest friends I have are the ones I made before I was 13.  Even though many of these of these cherished girlfriends live in places as far away as London and the Philippines, I know that we would all stop what we were doing in a second to be there for one another and we can go months without speaking and just pick up where we left off when we do connect.  My guess is that my niece will feel the same way with many the girls in this photo like I do about my friends.  What a blessing.

#3- Occasional indulging is healthy and important

Life Reminders

There is a quote I love about health, “Your body reflects what you do it the majority of the time.”  The person who exercises regularly and eats well will probably not be affected by a pint of ice cream, just like an hour of exercise will  not really impact the person who eats horribly and never works out.

Nobody is perfect and I don’t think anyone should hold themselves to this impossible standard when it comes to food.  For the most part I eat pretty clean.  I keep sugar, gluten, crappy carbs and processed food out of my diet.  I do it because my body can’t tolerate it.  Too much sugar and I am in a coma and too much gluten and my stomach hates me.  However, because this is how I eat the majority of the time I can indulge occasionally without guilt like I did this weekend.  I imagine it like surrounding my bad choices by really good ones.  In addition to a snow cone machine, my sister had a cotton candy machine this year, as well.  I can’t remember the last time I ate cotton candy.  It was so fun to eat and enjoy, especially considering that another decade will go by before I eat it again.  Give yourself permission to indulge every once and a while.

#4- Water and blood can be just as thick

life reminders

Top left: Me and my sister, Beth. Top right: my mother-in-law, Patti, and my husband, Frank. Bottom left: Me, my sister and Patti, and, bottom right: Me and my sister being silly.

When I was a kid my mom didn’t have a very close relationship with her mother-in-law.  It caused a lot of tension and unnecessary drama.  I hated how it made my mother feel, and, when I married, I knew having a healthy relationship with my own mother-in-law was important.  Thankfully, I lucked out and am very close with mine.  Plus, it gets even better.  My family has embraced my mother-in-law like another family member.  She attends most holidays with us and my nieces and nephew call her Gammy and see her as a third grandmother, proving that water and blood can be equally thick, and that family can be created any way you like.  As long as there is love, does it really matter who makes up your family tree?

#5- Hula Hooping is harder than I remember

Life Reminders I was an athletic kid.  I was a gymnast and soccer player in grammar school and in high school I was a cheerleader and hurdler on my track team.  It has been years since I kicked a soccer ball around or jumped a hurdle, and this weekend I was woefully reminded how hard the simple things from childhood are to do as an adult.  I picked up a hula hoop and couldn’t spin it around my waist one time.  It was pathetic.  However, when given the opportunity and a wide space, I will attempt a cartwheel, successfully I might add, just to make sure I can still do one.  Just because you’re an adult, don’t stop doing the fun things you remember doing when you were a kid.  You may suck at them, but it’s still fun to try.

#6- Swing high and often

life reminders Speaking of doing things from your childhood.  How often do you jump on a swing as an adult?  While at my sister’s I decided to do just that, swing for fun.  While swinging, this adorable little girl started swinging next to me.  I told her she was swinging so high that she could practically kick the moon.  The joy in watching this little girl actually swing her legs out to kick the moon was infectious and probably the best part of my day.  Be the person who can find the simple pleasure in swinging and never be too adult to do it.

I know that I rarely get this personal on my blog and it’s not the reason you read me regularly, so thank you for indulging this post.  I feel incredibly lucky to have the family and friends around me that I do and love that I am consistently reminded not to take this for granted.  I hope it gives you some of your own inspiration to create a big, juicy and fortunate life with whatever it is you have right in front of you.