How Children Change Us

There is no denying that children change us. Many parenting blogs and baby books will talk about the changes new parents should expect when their little one arrives.

New habits.

New worries.

New pains.

New concerns.

New plans.

New priorities.

A new, deeper love.

But sometimes it’s hard to explain these changes to someone who hasn’t had a child yet. Everyone just always told, “You’ll know what I mean when you have your child.”

And they were right. I do know what they mean…but still have a hard time finding the right words to explain this change. It’s amazing that literally the moment a child arrives into this world, parents experience a new love that quickly changes us.

Welcome, Cooper.

Some people ask me, “How is parenthood? Is it everything you imagined?”

Dinner time snuggles.

Honestly, parenthood is better than I could ever imagine. 

Most of the time I know EXACTLY why Cooper is crying. I can solve the problem and we can both move on. Other times, it takes longer and I find myself getting frustrated. We both get frustrated.

What is it? What do you need? What am I doing wrong?

But that’s just part of parenthood. You’ll always wonder, second guess, and take chances to solve problems and help your child. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll have many, many victories and inspiring moments too.

Yes, parenthood is hard. I’ve had many sleepless nights and I’ve shed many tears. But being a mom is the best gift and my best job in this world.

Cooper is my everything. 

I loved you before I knew you.

But saying that Cooper is “my everything” can mean so many things. And that doesn’t sum up exactly how Cooper change me. Before I had Cooper, I was very career-driven. My career was my baby. But having Cooper gave me a new purpose in life.

A new job that I never want to retire from. 

Cooper’s laugh = the most magical sound in the world.

Don’t me wrong- I still feel excitement about working again (some days). I just wish I could take him with me OR work from home! Maybe I’ll feel better once we get into our new routine….returning to work is an entirely different blog post. One that I’ll likely write soon as my maternity leave is slowly coming to an end…

Anyway, Cooper giving me a new meaning and passion for life is just one of the amazing ways he has changed me.There are countless of other ways he has changed me too.

Sure, I don’t sleep as much (but it’s truly amazing how well I function when I only have a few hours of sleep).

I’d rather go shopping for Cooper than myself (HUGE for a shopaholic like me to admit).

I don’t get grossed out by baby puke or poop anymore (I used to gag just thinking about a poopy diaper).

I’ve fallen more in love with Justin, who continues to amaze me as both a husband and a father.

Sometimes your baby will kick you in your face.

I workout so that I can chase him around and remain healthy – the healthier I am, the more years I have with him!

Workout inspiration.

I don’t care so much about being on a strict timeline or schedule (this one is HUGE!!!!).

I used to OBSESS over plans and details. But guess what? When you have a kid, especially a newborn, your plans get thrown out the window.

And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I simply mean -if your baby needs to eat, you stop what you’re doing and feed them. If your baby is crying because his diaper needs changed, you find a clean place to change him. Even if that means pulling over on the side of the road or hitting up the nearest parking lot to turn your backseat into an instant porter potty and feeding room.

Also,  Cooper has taught me to TRULY put his needs, wishes, feelings, and emotions over mine. It’s true that children teach you how to care for someone else’s health and well-being over your own. But don’t just take my word for it, here is a story that has greatly touched my heart.

This story helps me explain to you how children change us.
 
I was doing my nightly Facebook stalking when I came across a post from my dear friend Ashley. Both her sister AND brother-in-law are battling cancer. They have two young sons. And as a parent, my mind instantly wonders to the children.

What would their lives be like without both of their parents around?

How would they deal with the loss of both their mom and father around the same time? 

Cancer sucks.

I’ve been following their story and praying for miracles and healthy recoveries…And that evening, Ashley’s sister (Holly) shared that she was in remission. Holly does a few tumors on her liver – but due to the stage and size of the cancer – they haven’t yet grown in size.

She said, “Jack and Brody (their sons) are doing well. Along with my Faith, they are my two biggest reasons for living and keeping a positive outlook on life.”

Children give us a new purpose and reason.

That was the first life lesson from her post.

As I continued to read the blog post, the bad news came when Holly shared that her husband isn’t doing well. The prostate cancer metastasis to his bones. He’s so ill that he lost 20 lbs in 10 days and can barely pull himself from bed. He’s had surgeries (one of which put a pain pump in his spinal cord to help with the tremendous amount of pain that he’s experiencing).

But he’s not giving up.

He’s holding on and fighting hard.

Despite his unimaginable pain, he wants to see his son turn 2 this Sunday.

He wants to fight to see his two year anniversary of his intial diagnosis of Stage 4 prostate cancer. One last attempt to kick Cancer in the face!

He wants to see his family for Thanksgiving and watch his children open presents on Christmas.

Can you imagine only having one more Christmas with your child? One more birthday? One more day….

It’s absolutely heartbreaking and his battle with cancer inspires me (even more) to cherish every little second I get with Cooper. Who knows how many birthdays, holidays, and extraordinary days I’ll get with him. 

Children help us fight our battles.

That was the second life lesson I gathered about how children change us. Children make us fight because we want to experience all of their smiles, moments, and milestones.We don’t want to miss a single moment of their life.

When I look at Cooper, I am reminded that everything I do…I am doing for him.

To make his life better.

To care for him.

To love him.

To make sure he is the happiest and healthiest baby (as much as I can influence).

And whatever challenge or battle I face, I am encouraged to fight even stronger and harder knowing I have Cooper in my life.

Children give us light.

As I was texting Ashley about these updates I read online, she told me, “God brings light into the world through innocence like Cooper.”

Innocence.

I cried.

Oh, how I cried…

Maybe it’s selfish of me to listen to that story and think of myself and my own family. But I confess I did..

I thought about Cooper.

I thought about Justin.

I thought about Justin having cancer and Cooper only getting one more birthday with him. One more holiday. One more day with us.

Tears instantly fell from my eyes and my heart just ached for the family.

Ashley continued, “It’s true. Brody and Jack are my sister’s light. Without them, I don’t know how she’d be reacting to everything she’s going through. Children give people purpose for surviving and providing.”

Her words were beautiful. Cooper is my light. He lights up even the darkest day with his smile, laugh, and personality. He lights up my entire world simply by being close and near me.

I’m not saying your career or spouse or pet or anything else doesn’t give YOU purpose or reason… I TRULY believe people can have purpose, meaning, light, and the urge to fight through battles without having children. I have a few friends who never want children – and I believe that they will absolutely live a happy life.

But there is no denying that children inspire us to live a healthier, happier life.

They need us to.

And as it turns out, we need them just as much.

That smile just gets better and bigger each passing day.

P.S. If you pray, please keep Holly and her family in your prayers. If you send positive vibes, we’ll take those too. xoxo!

Much love,
Ashley

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