There we sat at a restaurant I had chosen based on their likes and dislikes, different from what I would have chosen had I been alone. As a parent, my young children dictated where we ate. Sad, but true. In fact the entire day seemed centered around them. Now don’t get to thinking that I let my kids run all over me. It’s not that, but I’d be lying if I said my life wasn’t drastically altered related to the entrance of my children. Everything had changed. Everything.
When I was single and childless I took a whole lot of things for granted. I didn’t realize how magical a hot shower could be, how elusive peace and quiet would become, or even how rare retiring to the toilet by myself was gonna be. I could never have known that a clean house (like really and truly clean, for more than ten minutes) would be as coveted as the Holy Grail. Who knew?
Going out to eat would end up being a chore, not a pleasure. Running in real quick to the store would be a thing of the past, and even shopping would become a dreaded challenge, rather than an enjoyable pastime. My body would never “bounce back” after this third one, and I was under no illusion that my hormones would straighten back out. Some days when I had swept three times before dinner even arrived, or I had picked up the same toys time and time again, I might think of how difficult it was being a mother. I might even mutter, “I’ll never have a clean house as long as you kids live here!” Pretty sure I did, in fact, and it wasn’t until my six year old answered back my ranting that I realized my mistake.
She had said sarcastically, “Maybe when we’re gone to college you’ll have a clean house again!!” And my heart had hurt at her words.
As I sat at the restaurant (of my children’s choosing) today, I watched them playing outside while we waited for our food. My heart was glad, indeed it was full, as it was most days. Today it was overflowing with the joy of watching my babies’ happiness. They had enjoyed a day of school, and seeing their excitement made me excited. Seeing them enjoy life somehow made me enjoy life even more. It was the craziest thing. I always drifted back to Christmas. Once upon a time I loved getting gifts, but after children that had been trumped by watching them get gifts. How in the world you could get so excited watching your child open a present, I didn’t know, but I guess it was just another example of how kids changed things. They changed heart things. They had changed how my heart reacted, and they had awakened in me a more empathetic understanding of others. They had sensitized me to life, and I knew I would never be the same.
If there was anything I wanted my daughters to know it was that yes, my life had changed! It was not the same as it was before, and it probably never would be. But it wasn’t dirty floors or stretch marks I was referring to. That was of little consequence and definitely not worth a second thought. What they had done to my heart, though, now that was really something! That was something I wanted them to know. Their blessed arrival had awakened within me a fire I never knew existed. Sometimes it felt like it might burn me up, but it was wonderful nonetheless. That ignition of my spirit that God had used them to spark, that’s what I wanted them to know.
And that’s a story I never mind repeating.