Not too long ago a friend wrote to me in an e-mail "Being around all of my friends who have children has simply underlined my decision not to have kids. Most of their personalities change for the worst." That made me wonder whether I have changed for the worst.
I wish that I were better at journaling. I would love to have a pre-pregnancy account of what I thought motherhood would be. How could I know? How could I understand just how fully my life would change? I knew that there would be no more 9:30 p.m. spur of the moment dates at Barnes and Noble for my husband and me. I knew that it would be weird to be called "Mommy”. I knew that it would be hard. Two kids later I realize that I didn’t know anything.
I didn’t know how being a mom would change the way I watch movies. I almost threw up when I saw “Panic Room” because the daughter was in danger and the mother seemed so helpless.
I didn’t know exactly why sleep deprivation is used as torture.
I didn’t know that any child reported lost would instantly turn into my child in my mind prompting me to memorize what she was wearing for the next three days.
I didn’t know that my world could revolve around a little being that weighed less than 20 pounds. And I didn’t know that I could enjoy that!
I didn’t know that a four year old could be my best friend.
I didn’t know that a 20 month old could have a great sense of humor.
I didn’t know that moms and dads agonize over discipline decisions and that the punishments really do hurt them more than they do the kid.
I didn’t know that watching a toddler eat could be so captivating.
I didn’t know how one tiny tear running down a soft, smooth cheek could make my heart break into a thousand pieces. And I didn’t know how hearing a belly-laugh could fill me with sunshine for days.
I didn’t know how many great books there are for children out there. And I didn’t know how bad children’s literature could be.
I didn’t know that I could love my husband more. Hearing him play “tickle monster” with the kids while I make dinner makes me fall in love with him all over again.
Not only have my kids taught me, they have also caused me to remember.
I had forgotten the joy of the feeling of snowflakes on my face.
I had forgotten the magic of a shooting star.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to scream and run around for absolutely no reason.
I had forgotten that macaroni and cheese is really, really yummy!
I had forgotten about bubbles.
I had forgotten that time is the greatest gift you can give or receive.
I am humbled and blessed that God chose me and my husband to be parents to my daughter and son. I cannot believe that He trusted us to raise them and help them become adults. I thank Him for teaching me and reminding me of wondrous things every day through my children. My prayer for them is that they will grow up to experience the same wonder through their children, should they choose to have them.
Have I changed for the worst? No, of course I don't think so. My friends who have chosen not to have kids may beg to differ, but I know that my kids have enriched my life in ways beyond my wildest dreams. How can I exhibit a negative change in my personality when I am overwhelmed by the positive? I pray that I can exude that positivity and can honestly show joy in my parenting - outside the home to friends, family and strangers alike, but most importantly IN my home with my kids and my husband. I want my family to know that I love them and treasure them and just plain enjoy them. I hope and pray that comes across in my life. I don't want to be one of those people who has changed for the worst.