I didn’t know this before I had Evie, but having kids makes you feel special. At least, it does me. And I know that’s weird. I mean, most people have kids, right? It is normal; it doesn’t make you special.
But it is special.
Yes, I have read those studies that say that people with children are actually less happy that those that don’t. I suppose I could be made to believe that. But not really.
Of course you give up a lot: A lot of freedom, a lot of… actually, I am having trouble of thinking about what else. I am still me. I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I am not more mature, enlightened. I am not kinder, calmer. I am not angrier. I am not even more sleep-deprived. But I do find it difficult to think of anything BUT her. The “‘mental load” thing? It’s true. She fills my waking and sleeping moments. My brain is leaking with details (did she get her latest shots, when is that first school tour, I need to reschedule my after-care, is her diet balanced, I need to buy her new underwear, etc. etc. etc.)
I am not defined by being a mother. I’m not just Evie’s mum… but I am changed.
I think the only way I can describe it is that I have levelled-up as a human. (Can you tell I work in videogames? 😉) I have expanded my horizons. I feel a whole new set of feelings I have never experienced before. I have unlocked a new level, a new set of challenges, a whole bucketful of feelings. I would literally die for Evie.
When I see a pregnant woman now, I think “I’ve been there”. I LOVED being pregnant, loved every second of it. When I see a tiny, sleeping baby, eyes welded shut like a kitten, I reminisce “Awww, remember when Evie was that small?” When I see a parent struggling with a rowdy toddler, I want to help, to assist with bags, to catch their eye and empathize, to make them smile. (I want to hold the baby, too. That’s the other thing about becoming a parent. It’s a disease: once you love your own baby, you find other people’s cute as well!)
You’ve joined the club.
The closest thing I can describe it to is being high. How do you describe what its like to smoke pot or take E (or molly or whatever the kids are calling it these day) to someone that has never done it? How do you describe locking eyes with someone, the secret nod, the shared humanity, the recognition of a being on a higher plane?
Now I know.
Having kids is like that.
I had no idea it was going to be like this. Little did I know. Little do I know. How much I have to learn.
For instance, now I know why every parent thinks their kid is a genius. They just did something new for the first time. It’s just so much fucking fun. It is seriously a trip. Evie just turned 3, but she already loves to cook, can count to 20 (in English and Spanish), can spell and write our names, and “kiss it better” if I have a boo-boo. To anyone else, it’s nothing… but to me, everything she does is miraculous! This morning, she climbed into my bed to read me a story. That’s MY kid that did that. It seems like only yesterday she was pointing at everything and saying “woof”. (Paul and I joke that she’s powering up, her systems are coming online. It won’t be long until she is fully operational!)
I guess the biggest surprise for me is how much easier it is that people say. Is it the current political situation that has us all programmed to bang on about how bad everything is? It feels like all I see online is how DIFFICULT parenting is. How much wine you need, just to survive the day. I think I just saw a Charlize Theron movie advertised this week that is about the horrors of motherhood. I mean, if we all believed this, its amazing that any of us are here at all. Why would people keep having kids if the best you can hope for is to survive?
It just isn’t like that. They can be so damned funny, and sweet. They do something new every… single… day, and you light up, with surprise, with joy, with pride.
Thank you, Evangeline for making my life better and richer every day. Buckle up. She’s sentient now 😉.