1. Getting all geeky over family dinners and declaring Monday "Taco Night". Who knew ground beef and shredded cheese could warm the cockles of your heart?
2. Exchanging knowing glances with other moms over their jogging strollers. I always grunt a "hello" to the other ladies pounding the pavement with the kids in tow--I know the supreme effort it takes to don those jogging shorts some mornings.
3. Getting faster service in restaurants. It's nice when servers take my child's order first or toss him some extra crayons. It helps move things along and allows my husband and I to eat our meals without interruption.
4. Appreciating time to myself. We visited my parents' lake house over the weekend. When my son took his afternoon nap, I retired to the town pool with the latest Vanity Fair and a strawberry daquiri, totally alone. It was sheer heaven. Before kids, I never thought much about how much time I had to myself. Now I cherish those moments when I can get them!
5. Watching my son get to know my siblings. One of my sisters is a flight attendant. Whenever my son sees a plane, he says, "Mommy! Aunt Laura is in that plane!" It's so cute.
6. Enjoying the holidays: After many years of working in retail, I had a definite "Bah Humbug" attitude about the holidays. Last year, it was magical to see my son delight in the Christmas tree while he danced around the house to the Peanuts Christmas album.
7. Having a greater understanding of what my parents went through raising us. You really don't know how much your parents struggled and sacrificed until you become a parent yourself. We had 5 kids in my family. I don't know how my mom and dad did it. Once I was running low on diapers, and my dad said, "Don't worry, I know how to make a diaper out of a t-shirt! It's no problem". I can just imagine my sister Sue wearing a t-shirt diaper as a toddler. She also liked to drive our Go Kart up and down the street wearing my brother's football helmet. While eating a chicken leg. We have photo evidence!
8. Feeling satisfaction knowing that I can physically and mentally handle tough situations. I used to get nervous when I had to get a cavity filled. After a harrowing 25 hour labor and delivery full of excruciating pain, vomit, crying and shaking, a the dentist's drill does not faze me.
9. Being the most important person in someone's life. My son loves his father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. But when it comes to knee scrapes, monsters in the closet, bath time and bedtime stories, only Mommy will do. It's nice to be needed.
10. Having fun stories to tell later in life. In 20 years, I can see my husband and I telling our son about the time he spiked a high fever and barfed all over me during a long flight. Total panic set in, as well as embarrassment and dirty looks from other passengers. I will always be grateful to the crew on Southwest for their cold towels and kindness.
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