How have my children changed me? Let me count the ways… My children were like amateur photographers, sending me a daily barrage of distorted images, and even today they haunt me via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram. They taught me things about myself no sane person wants to know. Like how loud I can yell when sleep deprived, or how long I can go without showering (four maybe five days), how much I hate housekeeping (the truth is I would rather tackle an angry bee hive then clean the toilets), and I don’t care at all for the grocery store. I yearn for quiet, I would crawl across hot pavement in July for a cup of coffee, nevertheless I’m fiercely protective of this motley brood. I went into this parenting thing as naively as I came into the world. I was confident, uneducated, and full of energy. I told everyone, “I got this.”
After pulling my size ten foot out of my mouth, wondering if my vagina would ever be the same, I brought the first bundle of joy home, plopped her on the couch, and studied her from head to toe. I’ll admit I was so damn proud, I claimed sole proprietorship, even though Larry was heavily invested. After about two weeks I was begging for partners. She brought out the best and worst in me and I fell hard for that pint size girl. Before my brain came back on line we made another one, and another, and yes one more. I like even numbers so what can you do? One day I woke up, looked around, and screamed, “What the hell happened to my life?” I felt like someone plucked me out of obscurity, dropped me in a suburban zoo, where the featured animals were children. They were always hungry, non-compliant, and somehow all my prom dresses and heels landed in the dress up bin. My brain went on sabbatical, I forgot how to put two sentences together, and often reverted to sign language. Don’t judge me.
Just when I thought I’d reached my limit Larry surprised us with a puppy. That could have been a really unfortunate situation but I fell in love with the mutt. The dog grew to one hundred and twenty pounds, was also fiercely protective, and shed her black coat all over the house. I remember one day a neighbor kid put my son in the trash can and let me just say that brought out the dog in me. I dug my kid out of the trash, barred my teeth, and growled at that bully. I tried to bite the kid but he ran away. Deal with it!
When the kids started playing sports I became a taxi driver, assistant coach, and now that I think about it, I believe I started the whole Starbucks trend. Those crazy kids moved out as quickly as they moved in and now I miss all the chaos. How have my children changed me? They captured me with their love, kept me appropriately humbled, and pushed me beyond all reasonable limits. Now I’m a grandparent and I know better than to say, “I got this.” I’ve even learned to love Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram. I’m resistant to making historical changes, but if I were to do it all over again, I would hire a battalion of help, permanently move my mom into the shed out back, and put Pizza Hut on speed dial, but I wouldn’t give up one minute of my time at the family zoo.