Kids, You Are Worth It. {An open letter to my children for Mother’s Day}

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My Mother’s Day tribute shall be an open letter to my children. I make no apologies for the sappiness, because that’s what mothers do best. Or at least, that’s what I do best. 😉 By the way, life as five in the Shoebox is evening out into a manageable rhythm, but the days are still crazy busy. Hence this post: a reminder to myself as well as the three precious little ones under my care.

Dear Children,

We once had dinner with a friend who doesn’t want to have his own offspring. “We’re party kids,” he explained. He described the life he and his fiancée envision as eternal couple: traveling to exotic lands, partying every weekend, going out for pizza at 2 a.m. just because they can.

Now, your father and I have never been even-awake-at-2-a.m.-type of people, but as he spoke the idea of going out late just because glittered in my head. Maybe I was a bit jealous for a moment.

One of you ran by, leaving a strong whiff of poo for us to endure. Another of you squirmed and waahhhh‘d in my arms. For a split second the freedom of no kids had a certain allure.

Parenthood is, after all, one unending sacrifice of body, time, money, space, smells, and heart. But it’s worth it.

Parenthood is, after all, one unending sacrifice
of body, time, money, space, smells, and heart.
But it’s worth it.

Children, hear me well: YOU are worth it.

What my dear friend doesn’t know is how exponentially enriched his life would be by a child or four. The blessing of parenthood is the type of thing you can’t really understand until you’ve been there—until you’ve held a little piece of yourself and wonder if you’ve ever loved more. You don’t even realize how much joy and excitement and tears and wild your life is missing until you’re rejoicing over the trailblazing pee on the potty or first wobbly smile that looks oddly a bit like your sister’s.

Sons, Daughter, you are worth the diaper changes and dirty floors and midnight wake ups and budget crunch.

What my friend doesn’t realize is that no party will ever rock harder than when you declared that ‘Five Little Monkeys’ is your favorite song and you danced freely and hopped around the room drumming sticks on anything in your path.

What my friend doesn’t see is that with kids you still get to be up all night. If pizza at 2 is your thing, then grab a slice from the fridge when you’re giving the baby her bottle. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The night wake-ups are rough, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t weather them well. But in those quiet moments in the dark you’ll wonder how it’s physically possible that your heart can be lying right there in front of you, all buried in blankets until just his nose is showing. Suddenly going out for pizza isn’t as tempting, and tearing yourself away from that adorable nose will seem impossible.

What my friend is unaware of is this: my own eyes beholding the glory of Angkor Wat or the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Wall of China doesn’t compare to beholding the wonder in your eyes when you wrote your first letter all by yourself. Take it from travel-loving me—I’ve already seen that temple, those graves and that wall. They pale to the glow in your grin when you make a joke or the awesome of your tiny feet kicking me from inside.

You know I’d love to travel the world again someday. But if it meant not having you to come home to, I’d pass in a heartbeat. There isn’t a party ever thrown that could rival the blast of watching you three grow and learn and love. I get a front-row seat to wonder every day.

My loves, there’s no right or wrong to choosing to have children of your own. But I want you to know that I’d never change my mind about you.

You, children, are worth every sacrifice. You fill our lives with joy and excitement more completely than we ever thought possible. You are gifts, individual blessings. You, now my daily work, will always be my eternal treasures.

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  • Jane Sasser
    May 9, 2014

    Amen. I think if you never have children, you never know the intensity of emotion: neither the lows nor the highs that a parent knows. Life must be more like a water color painting: just a little less vivid.

    But I also think that people who don’t want children should definitely not have them.

  • Kim
    May 9, 2014

    Well said! Happy Mothers’ Day, Evelyn.

    • Evelyn
      May 10, 2014

      Thank you Kim. Right back at you!

  • SarahW
    May 10, 2014

    My dear friend. You make parenthood seem less daunting and terrifying. I am glad I have you in my life. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

    • Evelyn
      May 10, 2014

      Sarah, I have never been more impressed with you in my life. Your card arrived a day or two ago–before Mother’s Day and before you left for Africa?! Amazing. 😉 Hope you’re having an amazing time! Can’t wait to hear about it. 😀 xo

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