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They Really Do Change Everything, Don’t They?

Children change everything.

I was at the gym the other day, working out and reading Five-Star Families by Carol Kuykendall, when that line struck me. I had to stop reading for a minute to avoid getting teary-eyed.

Maybe it’s the New Year and the fact that I’ve been doing some reflecting lately.

Or maybe I’m feeling sentimental because it’s January and this is the month I sit down and write each of my kids a letter, seal it, and put it in a box for when they are older.

Whatever the reason, that line in the book choked me up. And I spent the rest of my workout marveling at just how much they do change everything...

You have kids and suddenly life is different.

You still plan what you want to get accomplished each day, but you’re more flexible now because you have to be.

You still have a schedule. It just includes things like soccer games and swim meets and homework.

You still carry a purse, only now it’s converted into a grab-bag containing hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and snacks.

You still get together with your friends, only now you talk about things like how to potty train, or how to get your picky eaters to try new foods, or how to make it through the terrible twos and threes.

You still sleep, only less.

You still go on trips, only now you almost have to rent a U-Haul to carry the booster seats and portable cribs and other stuff you’ve acquired.

You still notice the mom at the grocery store whose toddler is throwing a temper tantrum, only now you notice with compassion and empathy, not judgment.

You still dream of what you want to do with your life, but now your dreams are more meaningful because they include thoughts about your kids and the legacy you’ll leave.

You still play, only it’s more fun.

You still feel for the child who is hungry, hurting, or sick, only now you step in and help when you can, because you imagine what if that child was yours.

You still care about the world, only with more passion because your kids and grandkids will be living in it after you’re gone.

You still hope, only brighter.

You still pray, only more fervently.

And you still love ...

only bigger.

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