Amy prompted her readers to write down their own 22 things before reading hers, and here's what I came up with. Some are funny, some are serious, every one tied to at least one memory.
1. You really don't know what love is until you have a child. You love your parents, your dog, your husband. They are all wonderful things, but the love you have for your child is all-encompassing and consuming. It will forever change you.
2. Pick your battles. You have to let kids win sometimes or their spirits will be broken. And if you make everything a battle when they are two, and insist on winning, they will be fighting you when they are 16. You probably won't win then. Sometimes you have to say no, but I think too many of us say no too much. Say yes more often.
3. Pureed carrots are a fashion accessory. I wore them a lot once upon a time, and it didn't kill me.
4. Paper bags are funny. How do I know? Once upon a time, all it took was shaking one open to send a certain 6 month old into peals of belly laughs. Is there anything more fun (and even funny) than a fat little cherub belly laughing? I'm chuckling just thinking about it. I told you paper bags are funny.
5. Vacuum cleaners really are toys. If your child thinks so, cultivate the thought. I made the mistake of dissuading my child, and now I have to vacuum the floor.
6. Little ones take a while to learn sound travels. Use it to your advantage.
7. There's not much sweeter than toddler-speak. I have a teenager now, and I still miss him saying "leddow" for yellow.
8. Even diamonds don't sparkle like the eyes of a happy child (or a child up to something).
9. There is magic all around you if you just slow down long enough to see it. There's a universe contained in the cracks of a sidewalk.
10. Nothing you accomplish will ever feel as good as seeing your child achieve something he or she has been struggling with.
11. You will see your parents with new eyes once you have a child of your own. And you will forever change your parents when you give them grandchildren.
12. It is a thrill to introduce your child to something you loved as a child and have them love it, too. Ditto for introducing your pre-teen or teen to music you loved at a younger age and have them love it, too. I still smile when my son (after seeing Lilo and Stitch, years ago) asked why Elvis wasn't making new records. He was so good, my son said.
13. Christmas morning is for children, and the real gift to the parent is getting to watch.
14. Seeing the man you love become a good dad makes you love him even more, even if you didn't think that was possible.
15. Play with your child now and every time they ask. They grow up so quickly.
16. Your children will forget toys you gave them, but they'll never forget you spent time with them or the memories you make together.
17. You don't need money. All you need is a big cardboard box and some sticks. A little sand might be good, and maybe a plastic cup or two. That's all you need. Oh, and I forgot, a wooden spoon.
18. As much as children love their Dads, at times they all need Mamalove. Once, when I was not home, my little boy fell and skinned both knees. His dad cleaned him up, patched him up and comforted him. When he started crying again, his dad asked him what was wrong. His reply? "I need a little Mamalove."
19. Hearing your child brag about you is better than winning a Nobel prize.
20. A sense of humor can get you through a lot of tough times.
21. If you think losing a parent is hard, watching your precious child lose a much-loved grandparent is sheer torture.
22. Hugs from your child, no matter the child's age, are just about the best things on Earth.