And although it has only been four short years since we became parents...it feels like a lifetime ago. I still feel like the same person. The kind of person who likes a beautifully set table with charger plates and napkin rings, the kind of person who enjoys a good book, a good Bon Jovi song, and a good night out with friends. But I know it's not possible to be the same person. It's not possible because, even if you skip over the whole part of the miracle of human life growing inside you, being a parent pushes you into unimaginable circumstances and overcoming each challenge somehow changes your DNA.
When creating your resume, where does parenting fit in? Under work experience? or volunteer work? maybe under interests and hobbies? For as much as I feel like I am the same person I was before my girls were born, I am not. I have been pushed. Pushed to sharpen my problem solving skills with a baby who cried day and night for months. Pushed to exercise the highest levels of self-control when being sassed by a four year old. Pushed to pull out more patience when you are absolutely sure you have none left.
And pushed to love more deeply than ever before.
What would I have done today if I didn't have children? The one thing I know for sure is I would have slept in! Because after a long week of work I would have felt entitled to some extra zzz's on the weekend. But instead, I had the joy of seeing the 6 am sunshine. I have come to accept that Lexi is an early riser and our morning rendez-vous continues. She showers me with kisses and pokes her little fingers in my ears and nose as she flips and flops getting comfortable. All the while, I keep my eyes shut tight pretending to be asleep and I hold back my smiles and laughter because I know if I engage her the game is over and we have to get out of bed. More times than not, Lexi falls back asleep and I struggle to breathe as she is sprawled across my chest but I would gasp for air before I moved her because as a parent we all make sacrifices, big or small, for our children.
I also know for sure that if I didn't have children, I likely wouldn't have been out at a soccer pitch in the blowing wind snapping pictures and cheering on my big girl who didn't want to go home even after the opposition quit at half time because they were too cold.
Tonight Callie is having a just because sleep-over at Grandma and Papa's house. And our house is just a little too quiet. Lexi was looking for her big sister when she got up from her nap. And even with just one less child, hands can get idle and there is a sense of unbalance and not knowing what to do with oneself. My hands didn't sit idle for long as I accomplished a healthy purge of clothes from my closet tonight.
Yes, my DNA has definitely been altered.