As I approached the milestone of turning 40, and my 2 boys in middle school and starting high school, I found myself contemplating the type of parent I wanted to be to them.

However, it wasn’t about boundaries, discipline, or meeting their basic needs. I realized that I did not want to be the mom who was simply watching from the sidelines as my kids experienced all the fun and excitement of life. I wanted to be the mom who actively participated in their adventures and made memories with them that would last a lifetime.

I Wish

I wished I would have started sooner, like when they were babies, but better late than never. So, I chose from that day forward that I would wholeheartedly participate in as many activities and adventures with them as I could!


I went swimming and did that cannonball I’ve always been too shy to attempt. I braved the freezing ocean (with the thickest wetsuit possible, of course) and boogie boarded with them and jumped the waves with them. I was determined to push myself out of my comfort zone, no matter how cold I was! I wanted my kids to see me as not just their mom watching them have fun, but as a fun and adventurous companion who was willing to try new things alongside them.

Pushing Through Your Comfort Zone

It got easier the more I tried. I picked up snowboarding, which I had not done in 15 years. I was the slowest one, but that time together was what I cherished. It even taught them to be patient with me as I slowly made it down the mountain.  I tried surfing on our trip to Costa Rica. I went snorkeling with them in the Bahamas rather than watching from the boat. When we went to the lake, I wanted to wake surf with them, and I wanted to be the first to try it. I made the promise to say “yes” to everything new and challenging.

They Will Remember

Understand, that while your kids will appreciate your support by watching their games or attending their performances at school, what would truly leave a lasting impression on them are the moments when you took the plunge in the ocean, went snorkeling with them, and braved that mountain!

Family Bond

These shared adventures have not only strengthened our bond as a family but have also created cherished memories that my kids will carry with them throughout their lives.

Have you ever thought about creating these types of memories with your kids? Taking that active participation in their activities? It’s just a thought I had and maybe it will spark something inside you no matter what form you decide to take…. happy adventuring!

family playing at the beach
(c) MaxTopchij from Getty Images via
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Aimee McKinley
I was born and raised in Thousand Oaks. I went off to college in Santa Barbara and met the love of my life, Mac at 19. We then traveled from Costa Rica to Santa Cruz to Sacramento where I finished my bachelors degree at Sacramento State University. We got married in Maui, Hawaii and ended up staying in Hawaii and moving to the island of Oahu. I went back to school for my Master's in Education at Chaminade University on Oahu, then had my 2 boys, Mac Jr and Gavin in Honolulu, Hawaii. After 6 years, we bid farewell to Hawaii and returned to Thousand Oaks. Transitioning from teaching to being a stay-at-home mom, I later ventured into real estate. It has been 14 fulfilling years as a local Realtor, assisting clients in buying and selling properties in our remarkable area! When I am not working, I love to watch my kids play water polo and baseball, travel the world, go to Lake Nacimiento and wakesurf, head to the mountains to snowboard or just hang out with our amazing friends!


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