Some repulsive woman in Europe regrets her children, writes a book about it, and becomes even more wealthy than she was already (from writing a book about how to slack off at work – golly, this woman gets better all the time). She wonders why her kids are more interested in Harry Potter than her book, which she gave to each of them – at 13 and 10 – to read. (Hint: The Harry Potter books see children as intrinsically worthwhile and your book doesn’t.) Various bloggers start compiling lists of their own 40 Reasons in favor of parenthood.
I can’t resist trying to get in with the “in” crowd (I’ve never really been a part of it, but I keep trying!), so here’s my own list. Maybe Soccer Dad will find a minute to add his voice to the crowd, too.
1. You can’t understand unconditional love until you look at the trusting eyes of your infant.
2. “I love you” takes on a whole new meaning.
3. Sudden bravery: timid women can suddenly become bears in defense of their babies!
4. Realizing that God has entrusted a living soul to you and your husband!
5. Realizing that God has not left you alone to tend that soul.
6. Tiny fingers grasping yours as you feed her in the middle of the dark, silent night.
7. Piles of drawings and love notes that say things like “I LOVE YOU MOMMY LOVES LITTLE GIRL” – and having them taped up around the computer, all over the bedroom, in the bathrooms, in the hallways…
8. Priceless art looks a lot like crayon on computer paper instead of oil on canvas.
9. You really don’t need those shoes as much as the growing-like-a-weed children! And you suddenly find that you don’t mind having ratty old sneakers.
10. Your children are ready to call and complain to Wal Mart that they cannot nominate you for Teacher of the Year because you homeschool.
11. Soft baby skin against your own.
12. That sweaty spot under your chin that comes from the baby falling asleep on your chest while you were dozing.
13. Remember how great it was the first time you received Holy Communion/went to Disney World/sat on Santa’s lap/grew something in the garden/rode your bike without training wheels/sat on a horse alone/jumped a wave at the beach? It’s junk compared to watching your children experience the same childhood joys for the first time! (Who would have thunk that the character parade at Disney World was a cause for tears??)
14. You don’t have to feel guilty for singing Veggie Tales songs.
15. You also don’t feel guilty any more for reading The Giving Tree again and again.
16. You get to read all the children’s books you missed the first time around!
17. Your children think you are the prettiest woman in the world.
18. They also think you are the best artist in the world.
19. You suddenly appreciate your own parents much more and realize that they weren’t really too strict most of the time.
20. Cuddling under a big fleece blanket while watching movies together.
21. Remembering why it’s fun to play in the snow.
22. Listening to their prayers.
23. Watching them do a silent acting show where they dress up to be Indians and take turns hunting and then use the stuffed puppy dog as a “deer” because they have no stuffed deer and then they gut the stuffed puppy and roast it on a spit that is actually a stick-horse and then proceed to eat it but that is not as funny as when they decide that the deer should be bigger so the younger daughter becomes the deer and gets shot with an arrow and gutted and eaten in the second act and you have to control yourself and not laugh too much or pee yourself because that will only serve to embarrass them. (shhhhhh…don’t tell them I told you that)
24. Little smiles that light up the entire world.
25. When you add more children to your family, the love mulitplies – not divides.
26. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other big holidays would be very lonely if you didn’t have anyone to share it with.
27. Your mundane childhood is so much more interesting to your children than it is to you.
28. Laundry was never as fun as it was when I was folding those teeny, tiny clothes – especially the socks!
29. First steps.
30. Birthday parties at your house where you have Yard Olympics and the kids have to do a relay race and run in Dad’s boxer shorts and T-shirts.
31. Realizing that a party in the park or a party where kids
trip um, run in Dad’s boxer shorts is actually at least as much fun (if not more) than the party with the juggler or the magician.
33. Your husband is never as manly as he is when he is being Daddy with the kids.
34. Your dream vacations actually consist of doing things with your family instead of sunning yourself on a beach alone with your husband. And you don’t care. You actually like it better.
35. Your husband becomes the strongest man in the world, and your daughter tells you that if he weren’t already married to you, she’d marry her Daddy. Because he is perfect. (Which you always suspected, anyway.)
36. When your husband travels for work, you’ve got plenty of company!
37. What other reason do you have to read Beatrix Potter books out loud?
38. You get to skip through Wal Mart’s parking lot while singing “Here We Go Looby-Loo.”
39. You get to watch your husband skip through Wal Mart’s parking lot. (No singing.)
40. Some day, when you are old and gray, little babies will come and visit you again, brought to you by the very same people who were once so small and tiny. And you’ll get to experience so much of this list again. And, if you are blessed with a long life, again with your great-grandchildren.
I want to dedicate this list to my Nana, who turns 88 today. She is the mother of six children, grandmother to 12, great-grandmother to five. She had (I think) 12 or 13 children in her own family, too. I’m sure she could come up with her own list of at least 40 reasons. Probably more.
Now, then, let’s get this list going as a meme. You parents out there, add yours to the list, and let’s gather these together in one great, big post. Leave your links in the com boxes, please. (Be sure to leave the exact link to your post, or we won’t be able to find it later!)
More lists (in addition to the ones to which I linked in the main post – there are three there):
Montessori for Everyone (who has 75 reasons!!!)
Baby Steps (I think my favorite – because it’s so true – is this: “13. Having children makes you extremely aware of the things in your home and how wholesome they are. The radio sounds different when you know your child is listening and absorbing the messages in the songs and ads. The television looks different when you know that those images are being recorded by a little mind. It makes you more aware of the filth in our culture & more motivated to keep it out. This is not only good for the Littles in the home, it’s also good for the Bigs.”)