Sometimes, I can get into a rut. I can start thinking of how easy it was before I had a child. How I could run into the store, grab some necessity, and be back in my car before the song on the radio was over. Or I think about all of the things I could do if I didn't have a kid. I would go to Europe, or write that pesky elusive novel, or I could go camping every weekend. But it's silly, because the truth is that I didn't do those things before. And when you have kids, you find the time to do the things that are important to you.
And then God brings to mind another list. There are so many ways that having Cate has improved my life. It's astonishing really. See for yourself:
Things I wouldn't do if I didn't have kids:
- Jump on the trampoline at 8 am. (Actually, I wouldn't even have a trampoline.)
- Chase ducks at the park. (It's quite exhilarating.)
- Watch ants on the sidewalk. (Eli likes to watch them; Cate likes to stomp them.)
- Splash in a blow-up pool in the front yard with my husband.
- Weekly finger-paints that most certainly turn into whole-body paints.
- Catch all the humor in Toy Story. (Although, after watching it about 17,000 times, I think I've got it now.)
- I wouldn't say things like, "Don't lick the sidewalk!" or "Don't lick the hand rails!" (on the chairs at the airport), or "Don't lick the dog!" (Does anybody else feel me on this one?)
- I wouldn't be as friendly. One of my favorite things about being pregnant was that people at work I had never talked to, family members with whom I'd never done more than idle chatting, even strangers on the street were all of a sudden striking up conversations- and I had something to say! And it doesn't go away with kids. It's like you enter a whole mommy community and all of a sudden you have common ground with all kinds of people. It's awesome.
-I wouldn't have as many friends. I have met some really amazing moms and we keep in touch because of play dates.
-Backstory: I am afraid of flying, and have a very regimented routine to keep myself calm. I sit by the window, I stare down at the ground, and as long as I'm not rushing toward it, I feel ok. Not good, but ok. Last time we flew with Cate, she had to sit by the window (plane's rules) and she would NOT leave the window open (Cate's orneriness). So, I wouldn't have sat in the middle seat on a 3 hour flight with the window closed.
-I wouldn't have sat in the rocking chair at 3 am with her hands clutched around my neck thinking, Please, God let this never end.
She makes me a better, stronger, braver person.