I’m so honored and excited to bring you this Episode #18 of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with a very special guest, my own son Ryan Neale.

One of the great lessons I’ve learned is the importance of marking milestones and honoring endings so that you can thoughtfully open a new chapter.

As Ryan approaches his bar mitzvah in April, becoming a “Jewish adult” and entering his teens, we decided we would spend his thirteenth birthday together, going on a “milestone hike” ‘and then recording an episode of the podcast at a recording studio in San Francisco.

It was a magical day of reflection, revelations for both of us, and a lot of laughter. I’m honored to bring highlights of all of that to you through this episode.

You’ll hear Ryan share eloquently and honestly about his appreciation for the support that helped him conquer his developmental delays, how his own fears manifest in his life today, and how, in his next chapter, he wants to trust more and move through his fear. Because, he says, he wants to live with a YOLO (You Only Live Once) mindset.

Ryan reflects on snapshot moments from his life, about his deep love for his younger brother, his experience finding a group of friends and a school program where he could thrive, receiving the academic achievement award, and the moments he hopes he’ll be able to look back on with pride at the next milestone.

Ryan also gets a turn to ask me his own questions and give me feedback. I had an opportunity to share the biggest lesson my mother gave me, to always appreciate every stage of life you’re in when you’re in it, and acknowledge what I wish I could change about myself.  

I also heard Ryan reflect back that in being “a little selfish” in creating Mother’s Quest I’ve given him so much more than if I only focused on my children.

There’s a game we play with Erik Newton (whose studio we recorded in) as our game show host, a lot of laughter and some comical out-takes that you’ll want to stick around for at the very end.

I felt so blessed to create this experience with Ryan and to share it with you. I take with me the importance of marking these rites of passage thoughtfully with our children, what a privilege it is to be witness to the development of another human being as a mother, a reminder of how powerfully our children see and know us and help us grow, and what fun it can be to create new experiences together.

Ryan and I will never forget how we spent his thirteenth birthday together. We hope you’ll leave this episode inspired to mark a milestone in your life, with your children, and make some life-long memories of your own.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Our meaningful and magical milestone hike through Laurelwood Park

  • How you cannot see yourself fully through the mirror but can through your loved ones

  • Life happens fast, appreciate every aspect of your life as you’re in it because before you know it you’ll be on to the next 

  • Take life in small steps and the snapshot moments that Ryan most remembers from his 13 years

  • Ryan’s love for his brother Jacob and what Ryan said the day Jacob was born

  • The impact living my E.P.I.C. life has had on Ryan

  • How things that are scary can at the same time be beautiful and Ryan’s commitment not to let his fears stop him from living his YOLO (You Only Live Once) life

  • The pact Ryan and I made to help us with our biggest area of growth, our management of time

  • Erik’s takeaway: “Parenting is an opportunity to be vulnerable in a way that is unprecedented.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Headstart, a special program for preschool aged children from low-income communities that provides access to early childhood education

  • The GATE Program (Gifted And Talented Education Program) national links and background information. Ryan participates in our local school district’s program.

  • Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

  • Erik Newton, The Together Show

  • Sports Illustrated Kid Reporter, a unique program Ryan has applied to which gives selected children ages 10 – 14 an opportunity to write and broadcast about sports

  • UCLA Bruin Woods where I was a counselor in college and where we all go to “camp” each summer as a family


 I hope this conversation sparked something that will inspire you to mark a milestone in your E.P.I.C. life. If you live in the bay area and want to participate in a group milestone hike I will be leading this spring or if you want to sign up for a coaching session so I can help you mark a milestone wherever you are, send an email to julie@mothersquest.com and put milestone in the subject heading.

The season is coming to a close and will start up again in May. Please make sure you’ve subscribed, signed up for email updates at mothersquest.com and joined the Facebook group so we can keep in touch and you’ll get notified when the next episode comes out.

Be Part of the Finale!!

I’ve extended the deadline for your submissions to be featured in the finale through April 6th and will release the finale later in April.

So, if you haven’t yet called in, and there is a moment from the season that made a difference for you, please go to mothersquest.com, look for the purple phone icon, and leave me a message with your name, favorite moment from the podcast and how that moment impacted you. I would love to include your voice in the season finale.

Let’s Stay in Touch

If you haven’t yet visited the website, I want to invite you to head over to mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list to have show notes delivered to your inbox, click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me.

Finally, I invite you to schedule a free 15 minute planning session where I can help you bring more intention to your life using the Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets which you can download for FREE at www.mothersquest.com/reflectionsheets. Email me at julie@mothersquest.com to set a time.

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Erik Newton and The Together Show Podcast who dedicated this week’s episode of the podcast
  • Claire Fry
  • Divya Silbermann
  • Rachel Winter
  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman
  • Cameron Miranda
  • Fran and David Lieberman
  • Debbie and Alan Goore
  • Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast


Want to join the patrons above and help support more meaningful conversations such as these? Visit the Mother’s Quest Patreon Page to become a regular patron or visit this link www.mothersquest.com/be-a-supporter to make a one-time donation.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, engaging mindfully with their children (E), passionately and purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), investing in themselves (I), and connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

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Episode #5: Live your E.P.I.C. Life to Help Your Children Thrive