Sure, some of them are disgusting, like when I am catching throw-up in my hands or carrying pee-soaked clothes in a Walmart bag out of the day care center.
But most of the time, I realize it because I am doing something new or having some kind of adventure. Like the time I was so excited about Eva's first time to go to the circus ... and I realized it would be my first time to go to the circus, too. I have had lots of new experiences, just because I wanted them to experience something, whether it was putting our toes in the Gulf of Mexico or feeding a bottle of milk to a baby goat.
I can guarantee you I wouldn't have spent summer Saturday mornings crouched at the side of a pool with a stopwatch, watching kids from all over the county as their fingers reach the edge, if my oldest daughter had not decided she wanted to be on the swim team. I would definitely not know as much about Star Wars, Transformers, super heroes and Legos if I did not have a little boy who found all of these things very important. I certainly would not take as special notice of the moon every evening if I did not have a baby girl who felt the need to say goodnight to it.
I might be less afraid of flying. I might always know the source of a sticky spot on my floor or table. I might have a little more money, a lot more free time and a few less gray hairs and stretch marks, but I would not have parts of my brain dedicated to birth weights and birthdays. I would not buy the family-size bucket of Schnucks-brand vanilla ice cream. I would not know as many words in Spanish without three kids' worth of "Dora the Explorer" viewing. I would not have as many inside jokes with my husband. I would not know as many songs. I might not say as many prayers. I might not feel as connected to mamas and their babies all over the world.
Maybe I wouldn't be a runner. My longest distances have been logged since I became a mom of three. Part of this may be because running gives me exercise and free "me" time. Part of it is because I want to take good care of myself in attempt to be around for my children for a long, long time. And part of it is because I want to be a good role model for them. I want them to see me making goals and striving to achieve them, whether I am training for a race or doing my homework since I decided to get another master's degree.
Would I have this motivation if I didn't want to be a good example for them? Do I strive to be a better person in the hope that they will be better people? I think so. And I don't think I would be contemplating any of this if I didn't have kids.
Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs probably would not write for Flourish if she had not had kids.