Before I had kids my mom used to tell me how hard kids are. She used to say stuff like, Raising kids is the best but there is so much sacrifice and it’s a LOT of work. Make sure you’re ready. I’d nod and think, Yeah, yeah, yeah, got it. But I didn’t get it. Not even a little.
In my defense, no amount of telling someone what having kids is like can prepare them for actually having a kid.
And it’s not “the work,” it’s the responsibility for another human life. At least, that’s what really gets me. The other day I was driving my kids home from picking up Van at daycare and it hit me (not for the first time) that I have two little lives in my back seat, and no one is responsible for them in this moment except for me. I’m the grown up. Yes, this still shocks me. In these moments of realization, I almost feel like the wind gets knocked out of me. I almost panic. ME?! Responsible for two little lives? Me – the girl who has a problem committing to a type of shampoo/conditioner for the duration of its shelf life. Me – the girl who can’t keep a plant alive and doesn’t even try (I fake try a little but ultimately, no, I just don’t). Yeah, me. I’m responsible for two little lives. At times it’s mind blowing.
About a week after we took Van, my oldest, home from the hospital I remember sneaking downstairs at 3am and snuggling up with my dog, imagining it was just us again.
I loved my brand new little boy beyond words but I was so completely and utterly overwhelmed by the responsibility of holding his little body in my inept hands that a part of me just wanted to go back. Back to when I was only responsible for myself and my dog. Back to when I could sleep through a night without worrying about someone else.
Now I have not one, but two little lives.
These innocents that are watching everything I do with fascinated, curious, observant eyes. These mini men that look up to me – their worlds revolve around mom and dad. We are everything that is solid, reliable, and true to them. It’s the most intimidating, terrifying, amazing feeling in the world knowing this. Yet it’s reality and having that level of awesome responsibility is something I still struggle with. With that level of responsibility comes a feeling of unworthiness; I think a lot of parents experience this. We wonder what we did to deserve these little beings whose worlds are rocked by our bad days and exhilarated by our good days. These tiny creatures whose futures hang in the balance of our decisions, our words, and most importantly our actions. I don’t often say blessing, but what a blessing it is to call my two little men mine. Still, sometimes it nearly knocks the wind out of me.