John and I had a lovely evening out this last Saturday. It was an adult evening playing games, snacking and drinking with some friends. It was one of those evenings on which I laughed to the point of tears and sore cheek muscles. Brilliant. Also thank you to my sister and brother-in-law, the awesomest babysitters ever. Driving home, I was ready to hug the kids. I missed their little faces, and I was ready to feel their sleepy weight against my shoulder. And that all happened. We managed to transfer from pack-n-plays to car seats to cribs without any major fuss. (This I also want to thank their uncle for because he spend the majority of the evening tiring them out with couch jumping.) I went to sleep with my adult tank refilled, and my mom tank at a healthy level as well.
And then my mom engine flooded. 6:30 AM hit. And they were awake. I took them downstairs to let John get a little more sleep, in theory, before he had a work thing to take care of. What transpired next was one of those things that non-parents do not believe and will just make parents nod in understanding. It involved a diaper blow out whose extent I did not realize until after both children found the evidence before me. Clean up involved floor cleaner, bleach, and baths for the kids.
This is not why anyone chooses to become a parent. This is something that you don't really think happens. They exaggerate this stuff for movies. Even if you have been around kids before, if they aren't yours, chances are you haven't had to really deal with anything like this until you have kids of your own. Yes there are exceptions. I am aware.
Then there is the flip side. I remember when we started talking about having kids and then it wasn't happening, I would watch some kid run across say the church's gym floor into his or her mother's arms. They could be laughing, crying, or just running, but they wanted nothing more than their mother's arms. I would be holding a child, and he or she would reach for Mom. This situation was a snapshot of what I wanted as a parent. To love and need and be loved and needed on the most basic of human levels. And the yearning I felt and the way I thought that would feel is, just like the diaper incident, nothing to what it is really like. I am the one run to. I am the one reached for. Sometimes that hug is not necessarily a sanitary moment. Sometimes it takes all the strength I have left to left a child into my arms and comfort or laugh. But each time, I remember how much I wanted it.
It's all about perspective.