Adventures in Imperfection

Life Lessons on the Deck of a Longboard

Instructions for Living Life~

Pay attention
Be astonished
Tell about it

–Mary Oliver


Note: I wrote a version of story that follows almost four years ago. If you read the original what you didn’t see was the fall-out. At the time, my deeply private (and barely teenage) son was mortified by his mom’s whimsical musings. He was okay with the blog post, but didn’t appreciate the Facebook tag. It took both of us awhile to come back to each other. Since then, he’s graduated from high school, earned an opportunity to play college football, and owns his new adulthood and freedom like a boss. I think he’ll be okay if I post this story again. Love you, Dane. xo


So many things make me toes-up-in-the air happy.

The scent of lilacs.

A pop-up thunderstorm.

Spools of nutscene twine.

Nutscene Twine

Red rust patches on an old tin roof.

Good wine and great friends.

The slant of moonbeams and Orion’s Belt in a clear sky.

Baby ducks, baby plants, and pictures of my babies.

When bread rises, the home team wins, and a seeing-eye single scores two.

I wish my brain could snap photographs and slap them into a photo album for safe keeping. A click to capture the moment with a minds-eye shutter speed at Mach 10 to confiscate every nuance, expression, and word. Like my son’s knock-you-stem-winding smile or my daughter’s spontaneous laugh.


One summer, our son Dane talked us into advancing him the dollars owed for mowing. He had a Zumiez longboard in his sights, and his budding teenage independence argued like a high-paid personal injury lawyer. My default mama thoughts hurdled to head injuries, collisions with cars, and road rash. Visions of extracting gravel out of cavernous wounds delivered a resounding no to the tips of my lips and the urge to bubble-wrap my kids quadrupled. Fortunately, the wiser and less neurotic partner in this marriage stepped in said: “Why can’t he get a longboard? It’s his money.”

I hovered and helicoptered and engineered until Dane offered an olive branch reserved just for over-zealous moms. He invited me to go skateboarding with him and added, “You can spot me and take pictures.”


As I watched him maneuver the board with confidence and fearlessness, my heart cherished the opportunity to learn from my son. Lessons learned by listening and not preaching, and watching without an agenda. Here’s what I learned.

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things: Be curious, be aware; do what scares you and make it count. Treasure your life by experiencing it.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes and look silly: Being perfect is tedious. What adventure is there in getting it right the first time?
  • Go outside: Nothing beats the blues or boredom like beautiful skies and back roads. I have solved many problems and bad moods by taking my butt outside.
  • Sometimes you have to slow down to go fast: Why do we assume that faster is better? Chillax, bruh!
  • Do things that make you smile from earlobes to eyeballs: Keep the people in your life who make you grin from the inside-out. Do the same for them.
  • It’s not a weakness to ask for help or advice: We are such a social, yet stubborn, species. Why do we think we have to do everything ourselves?
  • Goofing off is good for you: Wholehearted and happy adults play.
  • Life is full of uphill and downhill treks: Sometimes you coast, and sometimes you climb. One is not better than the other—terrain changes are part of the trip.


Mindset: Review the light lessons I’ve listed above. Do they seem vague or too broad for you to grasp?  That’s on purpose because I want you to personalize them. To think about what each one looks like in your life. Grab a journal and jot down the lessons that resonated with your heart. Circle the one that feels the easiest to implement. Do that this week!

Now, circle the lesson that feels the most difficult. Come back to the suggestion when you’re ready. Then, when the time is right, snap on your helmet, hop on the deck, and go for it!

Mantra: I am present. I am living. I make each day count.


I’m working on additional mindfulness content that will only be lightly featured on this blog. If you’d like to participate, sign up for my free, monthly newsletter. Coming January 2019! Note: If you’ve signed up in the past, you are already in! Thank you for being here 🙂

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30 thoughts on “Life Lessons on the Deck of a Longboard

    1. Thank you, Charissa. You always inspire me and help me feel like I’m on the right track. Was just thinking about you this morning and how much your editing and insights have helped me. I appreciate you!


  1. There are so many lessons we can learn from our children if only we stop and give ourselves the opportunity to do so. Your post is a beautiful reminder.

    I have often said that I grew up being fearful. It limited me in a lot of ways. I tried wherever I could to raise my kids so they wouldn’t be afraid and through that managed to overcome some of the fears I had for most of my life. Not all of them, just some of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up fearful of many things, too Mark. I’ve tried to do the same with my kiddos as you’ve done with yours. I fight the urge to hover all the time. Thank you for reading and for your encouraging words – always nice to compare notes with a good daddy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never went on roller coasters until the last time we went to Disneyland. My kids and a cousin — all in the 13-16 y.o. range — went on a roller coaster. I stood there and muttered to myself, kicked myself in the ass, and got in line with them. And went on almost all of the other roller coasters in the park over the course of the next two days.

        And there are other things along the way that I’ve done now that I never would have done if I hadn’t had kids.

        But there are other lessons and you touch on them … patience, stopping and smelling the roses, enjoying what is … that you can really get by being present with your kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re the goods. Thanks for sharing – my first roller coaster wasn’t until after I was married – so good to know we aren’t alone. I’m so happy that some of this resonated with you. Thank you so much for reading.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. They all speak to me of course but this one stands out:
    It’s okay to make mistakes and look silly: Being perfect is tedious. What adventure is there in getting it right the first time?
    This loosely translates into the mantra we have heard many times from Brene’ “I am enough” because lately? I am having a hard time with that “I am enough” thing. Life has taken a bit of a toll lately and stomped around on me. It’s nothing earth shattering and from the outside, it seems like it is no big deal. But from the inside…. big deal and I am struggling.
    I love the life lessons we can learn from our children. Sometimes in the middle of the chaos we are reminded that we can be and we are good parents. Why can’t I ever remember hear/see that when it matters??? :-/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So good to hear Dane is handling his new life like a boss:) Which school is he at?

    “Life is full of uphill and downhill treks: Sometimes you coast, and sometimes you climb. One is not better than the other—terrain changes are part of the trip.”
    This is in play in my life literally. I found a new running club (though not the perfect partner you were), and we ran 6 miles today. This week they start hill training. Up and down…however many times you feel necessary or doable:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my friend!!!! I miss you ❤️

      Dane is doing great – he is loving Washburn (here in Topeka). How are your girls?

      I’m so glad you found a running club – I’m hoping they can keep up with you. You were kind to let me tag along.

      I think about you all the time ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s amazing what we can learn from events that seem so small, isn’t it? 🙂 Thanks for sharing your revelation with us!

    And no, none of the lessons you listed are vague or too broad. I can think of numerous times in my life (some as recent as the past week or two) where one or more of those insights have applied. I’ll leave it there for now… otherwise, this would be a novel of a comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The opening quote from Oliver is one of my favourites and I’m completely invested in your life lessons learned. No arguments from me on any of those points!! I still have problems asking for help or advice … it’s a work in progress 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I came across your blog when I was reading The Cat’s Write posts. You were on the list of Legends. I am a very new blogger and I am overwhelmed with all of the information online on “How to blog”. Your words really resonated with me…. choosing relevant, helpful topics, am I being real? I also enjoyed your above post, especially how terrain changes are part of the trip. Thank you! I am still at the overwhelmed with information stage, although having fun🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello friend! Sorry for my delayed response.
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I haven’t had much time to blog over the last 18 months, and reading your words reminds me of my favorite part — connecting with others.
      I’m glad you’re having fun and going with the flow of info/tech overload. I’ll be over to check out your space as soon as I finish writing you here.
      And thanks for telling me about the Legends list at Cat’s Write — pretty sure I’m not a legend — just a lover of words. Thank you again Erica ❤️


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