Lately I've been reflecting a lot on what I expected having children would be like versus what having children is actually like. Of course it is 100 times more difficult than I ever thought it could be, but it's also 10,000 times more rewarding, and in much different ways than I expected.
Before having kids I always thought that sleep deprivation was just silly. I was staying out until 2 am and still getting up and ready for work by 8 am. How much more difficult could it be with a baby? (Go ahead and laugh at me. I still do.) Of course, reality smacked me in the face pretty quickly, and quite roughly. I never knew that one little person could take so much energy out of you!
Before having kids I was constantly late. I would always end up doing something to waste time, usually staring off into space for no reason and all, lost in thought. Then BAM...I need to leave in 5 minutes and I haven't even begun to get ready. This did not bode well for being on time when you put kids into the mix. Now? Instead of being 10 minutes late I'm 30 minutes late, and I'm not even wasting time! A simple trip to the grocery store needs at least 15 minutes of prep time, which doesn't include any surprises, like dirty diapers or a 3 year old that must have juice but only tells me after we are in the car. And of course I have to run back in at least twice for my phone or a bottle.
It's not all "wow, this is WAY worse than I expected" though. I never knew just how funny a 3 year old could be. Or how much I would love seeing Lauren rolling over and smiling at me in the morning. I never knew that my favorite milestones would be my children holding their own bottles, and Brenden being able to go to the bathroom all by himself.
I always thought that the best memories would be the "big" ones; first steps, trips to Disney World, or hearing them say "mama" for the first time. Of course those are amazing memories, but my favorites have been tiny bits of time that I didn't even expect to notice. Like Brenden playing with Lauren for the first time. I will never forget seeing him lay down on the bed next to her to let him grab his ears. Or watching Tim chase Brenden through the house with an oven mitt.
Every day I have something new to look forward to. A new memory, a new revelation, a new milestone. What more could a girl ask for?