I had the honor of sharing at a baby shower this afternoon. I would not say I am a riveting speaker; however, my ability was definitely challenged by a terrible cold I am fighting. Oh well, it is what it is! At any rate, as I prepared for speaking, I spent some time thinking about how having children dramatically changes our lives.
People say it for a reason. Being a parent is the most difficult, yet most rewarding job. It is a job with little appreciation. It runs you ragged. It can make you feel like the worlds worst failure. It threatens to consume you with worry. You find yourself cleaning things you never imagined. And owning things you didn’t know existed. You are constantly being reminded that you are beyond your depth. Searching for new tools. Sometimes you wonder why nobody told you what to expect. Then on further reflection, you realize you simply would never have believed them.
In spite of all of it, your heart is full. You know to the core of your being you would do it all again.
A few things along the way can happen. For example, words you thought had simple definitions, may not. Or perhaps you already thought you had a grasp of the definition and all of a sudden whole new levels are reached. Here are 20 that were affected for Craig and I.
1. Reality. Remember when you stood in the grocery line-up and saw some parent trying to deal with a child who was in full on melt down mode? You probably thought to yourself “my kid won’t do that!”. They will.
2. Humbling. Remember in that previous situation at the grocery line up? You may have thought to yourself, “I won’t talk to my child that way!” With cumulative fatigue and the right sequence of events and triggers, you might!
3. Flexibility. You woke up with an idea of how your day was going to go. Surprise!!! So did your little!
4. Time. You know those errands that used to take half an hour? They take an hour now. No matter what you do. It’s just how it is, get used to it.
5. Fashion. I dare you to tell a toddler that blue and pink stripes don’t go with that green, yellow and orange floral printed dress. Go ahead, give it a go!
6. Fascinating. Yes, every rock is different and they desperately need all 25 of them to add to their rock collection. There isn’t one that can be left behind!
7. Fun. Listening to the same song or watching the same episode of a show 57 times is fun and no amount of logic will convince a little otherwise.
8. Like. It doesn’t matter that they have eaten it since they were one year old. They don’t like it now that they are five years old. They don’t remember eating it two weeks ago, they have never eaten it or liked it.
9. Sleep. It used to be measured in nights, I had a good nights sleep. I didn’t have a good nights sleep. Now it is hours, I got three in a row!!! They had a bad cough, I was up every hour. No I never have enough.
10. Nutrition. You have been so sick you have had no appetite for five days, now it is your little one who is sick and not interested in food. Who cares if the rule is “we eat our fruit, we don’t drink it”. The child needs calories, let them have some juice already!
11. Friend. It might take you and I some time to make one. Our little people can go to the park, play for an hour and make a new friend. The simplicity of it is beautiful really.
12. Treasure. Yes that ordinary piece of plastic they picked up in the gravel at the park is a treasure. You will not be able to convince them it is a common, ordinary, unremarkable piece of plastic.Wait until they are distracted by a new treasure and you can toss it when they aren’t looking.
13. Need. You may think this is limited to things necessary for survival. I know it is hard to believe but, in the mind of a two year old, the definition is very different…and if they can’t sleep without it, your definition of need may change as well.
14. Funny. Yes, the noises that a body can make are funny anywhere, anytime, for what seems like eternity.
15. Truth. It’s all about perspective and memory is terribly unreliable. Good luck, it can suddenly be terribly elusive.
16. Important. Paying your bills, making it to an important meeting in time will all seem inconsequential once you have a child who is doing something new for the first time, those other things just don’t seem to make the cut.
17. Gross. You are going to have to trust me on this one. You will know your new definition when you see it. You could never have possibly imagined it! I am sorry.
18. Help. They may slow you down, quadruple your work load, and prevent the accomplishment of your task, but they are helping and they are proud of it!
19. Schedule. Just when you think you have one, you don’t. The moment you think it is safe to book an appointment for that time, so you do, you have doomed the schedule you thought you had.
20. Cute. I can put my hands up behind my head and you wouldn’t look twice. When your new born does it. It is the most adorable, cute movement you have ever seen in your life. Wait honey, I need to get the camera!!!!
Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it!!