Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Is it really Number 112? That means it's been going on for over two years. Wow. Wow.

So, this week's theme is Before & After. Click on over to get full instructions and all that jazz.

As I sit here trying to type on my computer the only "Before & After" I can even contemplate is life before and after I had children.

Before I had children, my stomach was flat and stretch mark free. My lady lumps stayed up where they were supposed to and didn't fall out of their boulder holders.
Before I had kids my husband and I lived a never ending "date." Even going to the hardware store was romantic. Before I had children, I slept all weekend long, waking only to cuddle with my husband, go shopping, or eat. Before I had children, my evenings were mine to do with as I pleased. I did crafts, put together puzzles, played with my dogs, savored late night luxurious, slow dinners at fancy restaurants. We went to midnight showings at the movie theater. Almost every weekend. When he had duty on the ship, I'd visit him, a homemade dinner (okay, sometimes it was drive-thru) riding in the backseat.
Before I had kids I could go out of the house at any time without worries that there was snot on my shoulder, banana smashed into my leg and peanut butter on my bottom. My clothes were tidy and I at least tried to be somewhat fashionable. Before I had kids, my house, although slightly cluttered, was usually clean. Before I had kids my conversations were logical, my brain worked in an orderly fashion. I forgot nothing.
Before children, television was all about what I wanted to watch -- grownup TV, news shows, and raunchy night time dramas. Before I had kids I drove faster than the speed limit, worked more than my forty hours a week, trying to please demanding people with an occasional coffee or lunch break thrown in. When we drove long distances we'd drive and drive, only stopping for restroom, gas and food. Often at the same stop. Rock music blared from the speakers, and Yup, life was pretty good before kids.

Before I had children, I hadn't experienced the joy of being woken up at 5:00 by your child with a tackle, a snuggle and maybe even a sloppy kiss. I hadn't seen any ones face light up quite like my kids' do when I walk into the room. And I didn't know how enjoyable kissing those mushy fat cheeks was. I try to kiss those mushy fat cheeks as much as possible before they get to be grown up kid cheeks. My evenings are now filled with chores after the kids go to bed. But I get to watch my kids play in the tub together every night. Giggles fill the bathroom and water sops all over the floor. I get to snuggle a Little Monster every night, watch him learn to say his prayers and hear his thoughts about his day. I rock a baby Monkey girl to sleep at night, holding her close while I still can, because in a few days she'll be too big. And I kiss those mushy baby cheeks one more time. I get to peek in on those same children after they're asleep to see their angelic faces. Before I had kids, and before I "had" to go through this routine every night, my heart almost never felt so full of warm love that I thought it might burst.
Now that I have kids, it's a miracle if we get out of the house on time, all at the same time, all with clean clothes on and each wearing a set of matching shoes. However, that snot that's on my shoulder is because I was the only person who could comfort someones broken heart or physical pain. That banana smashed in my lap is because some little soul wanted to share her breakfast with me. And the peanut butter on my butt -- well, that's probably nothing sweet, but if it comes along with a lunch conversation about how fish sticks grow up into chicken nuggets and when fish sticks grow up into chicken nuggets he'll finally eat them, then I guess it's okay.
Now that I have kids, the conversations that happen in my house make no sense, but they make me laugh daily. Imagination fills our home with Batmen, Supermen and spider men -- all who wear rocket boots (snow boots or rain boots) daily. Capes are donned with our pajamas and some days those pajamas don't come off. It's more fun to wear pajamas all day anyway. I watch my children play together every morning, and again, my heart fills with love and amazement at how much they love each other.
Now that I have kids, the TV pipes Disney and PBS most of the time. But it doesn't matter because now that I have kids I realize how much CRAP is on TV. I drive the speed limit, especially through neighborhoods because I know how fast the kids can get away from even a diligent parent. I spend my days trying to please two very demanding children, but usually their demands are simple. Goldfish crackers, peanut butter sandwiches and milk. Play a game of pretend, and smother with love. I still get an occasional coffee break, but sometimes I have to bounce a baby in my lap or drink it on the run.
Now that we have kids road trips are a little different. There are more stops. And we have to get out of the car at each one, often to change a poop filled diaper. The rock music has turned into something more family friendly (most of the time). And the conversation is often about what rhymes, lives in castles or says MOO. But now the car fills with laughter or tears for silly reasons.
Before kids life was pretty good. Life was predictable and enjoyable. After kids, life is amazing. Everything is an adventure, filled with more love, laughter, tears and emotion than I thought possible. After kids nothing is predictable. If you can figure out how, though, you learn to laugh at the mishaps and circumstances. After kids life is wonderful. I wouldn't go back for anything.

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