These days, life has become a bit of a foreign world to me. Having children changes everything... did you know that? Most of you do, as you have children.
I had an old friend drop by this weekend, she's an accountant and has multiple homes, toys and a busy work life. She's known me, well we've known each other, since high school. As I played outside with Patrick and chased balls around the yard, she participated in what I would call a very interrupted conversation. I remember having these types of conversations with my friends before I had children. I remember being a little frustrated when what was being said was interrupted by a child, then lost because that interruption took a few minutes to resolve by which time the topic was gone. During my time with my friend, she said a few times, "so this is your life now?" and we laughed and I said, "yeah, having kids changes everything". It wasn't until later that I reflected more on the meaning in that short sentence. It really does change everything.
Oddly enough the next day I had a second reminder, a work friend text me on Sunday saying a group of nurses were meeting up at a local brewery with their SOs (significant others), if we wanted to come down. Another reminder that life is different. Three years ago, not a problem. 6pm? We'll be there. Now, here are the thoughts that rolled through my head: -excellent, I've been meaning to go to the brewery again, -crap, 6pm is a hard time... Patrick needs to eat, bath and bedtime is shortly after that, -can I find someone with 2 hours notice to come over and watch these kids? -do I even have any milk for Cecilia? She hasn't been taking the bottle well... can I feed her before we go down? hmmm... -I could go alone... but then Joc has 2 kids to get ready for bed, dinner and Cecilia cries a lot in the evenings right now. -but man would it be nice to have some adult conversation with some adults other than Joc and i..... hmmm. Guess I better pass.
I guess I'm grieving the loss of freedom, again. I grieved it once with Patrick, thought I was done.
Gone are the days of "let's go out to eat tonight" replaced by, "do we want to try to go out? Who has macaroni and cheese on the menu? Did Patrick nap today? How crazy are we? Let's just stay in, I'm not in the mood."
Gone are the days of, "let's run to the mall and to Target" replaced by, "should we go to Meijer Gardens or the zoo or to the park?"
Gone are the days of, "I'm gonna go to the movies on a random monday afternoon" replaced by playing with Patrick, feeding Cecilia or making dinner or going grocery shopping.
Now, don't get my wrong, I love these kids, I love my life with them and with Joc. I just don't like the hard times (who does?) when Patrick is a terrible 2 year old and looks right at me as I say, "please do not throw your book at your sister" and throws it any way. I don't love being reminded of what we gave up when we had kids. (freedom at all times and autonomy) I remember feeling that my friends had changed and "I would never change". Have I changed? Have I become someone who can't have a decent conversation around my kid because he can't understand yet that it's rude to interrupt all the time? Have I become distracted from my life? Have I become a bad friend?
On the flip side, what I do have is someone I'm shaping into what I hope to be a handsome, caring, compassionate, hilariously funny and smart young man. And now a beautiful, sweet, kind, silly and intelligent young lady. I do have the sweetest hugs and kisses at the most random of times, the best kicker and thrower on the block and the hungriest and neediest infant. I have "I do it" and "noooooo!!" and "sista!" and "no cooper!" and "mama?" and "outside" and "i love you". So really, would I change a thing? Not for a heartbeat. In fact, I'd add another crazy kid to this mix if given the chance. Sure, I miss and long (some days) for those free and independent days, but to have these amazing little people is too much to give up. To see them grow and change before my very eyes... it's miraculous.