Priority No. 1: spending time with my boys

“Best start putting first things first, cause when your hour glass runs out of sand, you can’t flip it over and start again. Take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth. No, don’t blink. Don’t blink, life goes faster than you think.” – Kenny Chesney, “Don’t Blink”

Sigh. I don’t know where to begin. It’s been just a year and a half since I returned to the paper and again, we are parting ways. I want to spend quality time with my kids because as soon as I blink, they will embark on their own lives and careers. I don’t want to miss a thing.

And there are so many things I want to teach my boys. I read a list of things that every mother should make sure their boys know. Whoever compiled the list hit everything right on the head, and I’d like to share those with you.

1. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.

2. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back.

3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody’s got to clean that up.

4. Save money when you’re young because you’re going to need it someday.

5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now go use them.

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

7. Don’t ever be a bully and don’t ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.

8. Your knowledge and education are something that nobody can take away from you.

9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone, and it’s even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.

10. Take pride in your appearance.

11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

12. A woman can do everything that you can do.

This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 a.m. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

13. “Yes ma’am” and “yes sir” still go a long way.

14. The reason that they’re called “private parts” is because they’re “private.” Please do not scratch them in public.

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader, and others will follow.

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.

17. It is better to be kind than to be right.

18. A sense of humor goes a long way in the healing process.

19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.

20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

So, I am going to try my best to teach my boys these things. I may return, after my boys are both in school, if they’ll have me back. But for now, I am going to spend time with them. To watch them grow and learn. To teach them all that I can.

My oldest will be starting school this fall. I want to be there to take him to his first day. I want to be a “homeroom mom” and do parties and go on field trips. Be active in his schooling.

My youngest will be doing everything for the first time. First steps, first words. I want to see it all. I don’t want to miss a minute.

I will dearly miss my co-workers (most of them). I will miss those who take the time to read my words every Sunday morning. I will miss what I do, the creativity, the stress of a deadline. But I am moving ahead to the most challenging yet wonderful job I have ever had – being a mother.

I want to leave you with the words to the song I have as the ring tone on my cell phone.

“You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” – Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This”

(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)