I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I've watched the movies more times than I can count.
I put "A New Hope" on every time I was sick and stuck in bed. That tradition continues to this day, and I'll even watch it when I'm just having a bad day. It brings this huge amount of comfort I can't quite adequately explain.
In high school, I discovered there were books that explored the Star Wars universe more in-depth and even told stories about events that happened before and after the hit movies.
I was definitely a closeted Star Wars fan back then. I hid the books I read. Very few friends knew they were my favorite movies to watch. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started realizing it was OK — even cool — to be a Star Wars "nerd."
On our first date, my husband and I bonded over our shared love of the trilogy, and even talked about our favorite characters and stories from the books (Mara Jade Skywalker will always be canon to me). Not long ago, we decided to get a (super) nerdy Star Wars couple tattoo. His left arm sports the Millennium Falcon, while my right arm has Luke Skywalker's X-wing.
But the best was becoming a mom and sharing my love of that galaxy far, far away with my kids.
I will never forget turning on "A New Hope" with my oldest son Sam when he was 2 years old. He got so excited to hear the Star Wars theme song blast through the TV as the opening crawl crept up the screen. I will never forget how he'd yell "Bye, bye ABCs!" as the crawl disappeared into space.
The day we went and saw "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," I surprised my husband with a pregnancy test letting him know we were expecting baby number two. I handed him the test, all wrapped up and told him, "This is going to really enhance your movie viewing." He thought I'd wrapped a candy bar at first. It's a night neither of us will forget.
My husband has joyfully shared his old Star Wars toys with our kids, and I so enjoy watching the three of them act out epic battles from the movies. We also have a host of Star Wars Little Golden books and Learn-to-Read books that are all bedtime staples.
Needless to say, Star Wars is a big deal in our house. And I'm more than fine with it. There are so many great lessons to be learned from the saga. Today, on Star Wars Day, here are a few lessons I hope my kids will take with them in life.
1. Never stop pursuing your dreams. Luke might have been a simple Tatooine farm boy (and there's nothing wrong with that), but he wanted more and never stopped believing in his dreams of becoming a pilot — even when others doubted him.
2. Never give up. Life isn't always easy. There are times we feel defeated and exhausted, and that it would be easier to just give up. When Yoda succeeds in lifting Luke's X-wing out of the swamp, Luke says, "I don't believe it." Yoda responds with, "That is why you fail." Never stop believing in yourself and your abilities.
3. Face your fears. Yoda says, "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.” It's important we face our fears in life. If we don't, it has the ability to fester inside of us, leading to worse things.
4. Listen to your heart (aka "the Force"). Sometimes, when we're not sure about a big decision in our life, the best thing to do is to stop and listen to our heart and what it's telling us to do. If we do, it's bound to always lead to good things.
5. Surround yourself with good friends. I hope my boys surround themselves with good people who bring out the best in them, and who will be there through thick and thin (or if they're trapped in carbonite). Life's epic journey is always better when you have good friends by your side.
May the Fourth be with you!