Prior to having children, exciting was tickets to a major league baseball game, a night at the bar with a group of friends, a new stereo system, or a weekend out-of-town. After kids, exciting is getting through the day without ruining your shirt, having a few dollars left in the checking account when you’re done paying the bills, or not having to share your pudding cup with a small sticky person.
My life before children was so quiet and calm, so clean and orderly. Sometimes I would reorganize a shelf or drawer simply because I wanted to. Now, organization is a mythical concept found only in my wildest fantasies, right next to free time and surplus income.
Pre-kids, I routinely decided what I wanted to do when and then did that thing for as long as I wished, giving no thought to whether or not it was a school night. I took for granted things like having enough time to blow dry my hair AND style it. If I took the time to dry and style my hair today, it would be at the expense of wearing pants. Actually, that sounds kind of nice.
Before I had children, I collected blown glass vases, first edition books, and concert ticket stubs. Now I sweep pieces of broken glass up off the floor every other week and collect PEZ dispensers, irrational worries, carpet stains, and new ways to conjugate my favorite swear words.
But do you know what else I collect these days? Slobbery kisses. Knock-Knock jokes that don’t make any sense. Stories that begin with, “Mommy, the funniest thing happened at school today…” Tears of frustration and tears of joy. Overwhelming pride when my little humans treat others with kindness or remember to use their manners in public. Delightfully humiliating stories to tell my daughters’ future suitors. Equally humiliating stories of parenting fails to tell my friends. Shared looks with my husband when we’re both trying not to laugh because kids are hilarious without meaning to be.
So maybe I can’t have nice things anymore, but I do get to have nice moments and unlike pudding cups, I don’t mind sharing those with small sticky people.