Back in a different life, I drove with the windows down and U2 playing through the stereo in all its grand fullness. Beautiful days, beautiful times. But one day, I woke up and looked through the rearview mirror of the minivan at the tiny faces staring back and gasped—whoa—how did this happen? Yes, in a blink, a snap, there they are, leaving me as the responsible one, the mom. A new adventure, for sure—and I have to say one of the best adventures of my life.
Today, ten years into the trek across the continent called Motherhood, I’ve discovered the journey to be both wonder-filled and challenging. Though the climbs are often steep, the views are also often breathtaking, the joy full and rich, and the fun unrivaled. Following are ten gifts I’ve found wrapped in my life as a mom.
1. New Talents. Expertise comes lightening-fast in many forms, including but not limited to: taking an accurate temperature in the middle of the night, changing diapers one-handed, processing innumerable loads of laundry per week, cleaning stubborn stains, shuttling players to simultaneous games, and choosing just the perfect Bandaid for every hurt.
2. New Thoughts. Stocking up on Gatorade in early spring out of experience.
3. New Ways to See the World. Coins and outlets and tablecloths at a toddler’s eye-level.
4. New Experiences. Holding wild things for the first time: butterflies, slugs, bunnies, snakes.
5. New Standards. Dust bunnies growing into dust dogs are just fine.
6. New Capacities. Grossness on every level … need more be said?
7. New Jobs. Short-order cook to ravenous and growing mouths. Every day.
8. New Trivia. Every name of every character on not only Seseme Street, but Pokemon, Star Wars, and more.
9. New Appreciations. For quiet.
10. Newfound Loves. This one, I feel deeply … without my kids, I wouldn’t have discovered some of the essences of me … writing, photography, oil painting. My life is forever changed for the better because I have slowed down and listened to something deeper than the norm.
My life has become incalculably richer and more satisfying for the three young lives in my world—one where I’ve learned to savor so many things, including an occasional ride in the minivan, with the windows down and U2 playing.
Even more beautiful days, even more beautiful times.