Slice of Life Challenge day 5 #sol18

Birthdays are times for reflection…


Birthdays are Times for Reflection

I closed the car door.  Walking toward the house,  I could feel a wave of reflection beginning to churn, like a storm, uncontrollable.  Entering through the front door and stepping into the house, I met my wife coming to greet me.  “What is it?” she asked.  I guess she could tell I had something on my mind.  I paused, not sure how to put words to feelings.

“Have I done all I could have?” I mused aloud.  Although I’m not sure that particular grammatical structure captured my exact sentiments, she knew what I was referring to in the question: My birthday.

Yes, another birthday has found me.

Thinking back through time, I remember birthday number 30.  A surprise party.  I had met the girl of my dreams. Things were progressing well, something I had resigned would never happen. But yet it had.  Great hope. Anticipation for what would come next in life.  The next ten years brought great adventure.  A wedding.  A house.  A move.  A new house.  New friends.  Wonderful friends.  All good. All good. Ten years move past.

And then, somehow another round-number birthday found me.  This time a trip to Costa Rica.  Two beautiful children.  Another move, to New York City this time.  A new job.  Amazing new colleagues.  Then another move.  New job.  One more baby.  All good.  All good.  Except Mom, losing her. Tough. Terrible.

Not speaking of my mom, my wife asked, “Would you have traded any of that?”  Inhaling deeply, I shook my head.


Have I done all I could have?  The question echoed in my thoughts.  Then, Is that even a fair question?  I realized… I’m so grateful for the many blessings, people, experiences, family, knowledge, and opportunity that have graced these past fifty years.

Today is my birthday.  Here’s to another decade of adventure…


Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

20 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge day 5 #sol18”

  1. Lanny, Happy Birthday! I’m not sure how we would ever measure enough or not enough. I know my work is stronger for having you as a colleague. And Q is better off for the work you have done at that school. And those, I’m sure, are tiny ripples compared to the many you’ve made.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I’m so grateful for the many blessings, people, experiences, family, knowledge, and opportunity that have graced these past fifty years.” This line is the take away! Life is a blessing, we need to take the time to count the blessings that make up our lives – just like you did in this slice! Happy Birthday to YOU (you and my husband are 68 babies! he is welcomed it by skiing in Utah with our oldest daughter – you are welcoming it by sharing this slice!) Again, Happy Happy Birthday to YOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday, and as one a few years further down the road…it’s good to feel like there’s always more to do. That you could do better, that you can do it differently, that you can grow. Because even though we wouldn’t go back and change things, it’s great to look forward with so much that you want to still do! Enjoy the road ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy birthday!
    I loved reading this. I have asked that question often enough. Have I don’t enough? I asked it a lot around my own mother’s passing. I love the way your wife talked you through it. Would you have changed anything? If you can answer no then you’ve done enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Birthday from another round-number-er! But add that next decade on. Beautiful post, reading it felt exactly like the reflecting one does, as one ponders age. And then the chin comes up and the eyes look forward! Thanks for the chance to ponder with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. >Not speaking of my mom, my wife asked, “Would you have traded any of that?” Inhaling deeply, I shook my head. No.<

    This is all I needed to read. Each new decade brings its new challenges, but to look back and say, yes, I did well, that's all that matters.

    Thank you for this reflective slice. And happy birthday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What I love most about your reflection is how what really matters shines through. The people. The love. Even though we live in a culture entirely, it seems, centred on doing, birthdays help us remember what is more important than that. This was a great insight into a moment in time in your life, and relatable to so many readers. PS I also hope your daughters continue to own the description ‘ambitious’!

    Liked by 1 person

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