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Challenge: Get Happy!

Why My Kids Make Me The Happiest of All

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It was 7:00 in the morning and I’d gone to bed a mere few hours ago around 2:00. I’d been up late working on the laptop, and I finally crashed into the flannel sheets when my eyes physically refused to look at the screen anymore. They’d gotten heavy and drooped and willed me to call it a day. Those five hours of sleep were glorious, but not nearly enough.

Yet, like clockwork, I heard my youngest cry out from his crib. He wanted water, his blue stuffed bird, and his favorite early morning cartoons, in that order. I drug my sleep-deprived body upstairs and brought him into the bed. “Maybe he’ll go back to sleep,” I thought to myself, knowing the answer already. So instead, we were up. The morning turned from dark to light and sunshine began to pour into the room about 30 minutes later. When his sister joined him and I had all of my babies tucked in around me, I realized what an incredible honor it was to parents this brood. Yes, they’re energetic and drive me half-crazy most of the time, but they’re sacred parts of our story, and they’re also some pretty incredible human beings.

So without further adieu, here are five reasons why having kids isn’t just enjoyable -- it’s downright awesome.

1. They’re built-in buddies. Nope, I’m not talking about a best friend. I’m 30 years old and my best friends are my husband and my gal pals who are at the same stage of life as me. But my kids? They’re fun, man. They’re always up for a trip to the playground, or to the zoo, and they ask me to stop what I’m doing and hold a dance party at least three times a day. They’re the best little buddies I could imagine, and they make a regular old trip to the grocery store feel like an amusement park ride (ups and downs and all!).

2. They keep us active. I’ve never moved quite as much as I have since having children. Whether it’s climbing the stairs to soothe them in the middle of the night, getting down on the carpet to play trains, or letting them use my body as a climbing gym, I’m stretching, jumping, and running almost every day. It’s also an incentive to keep my body as healthy as possible, so I can keep doing those things as long as they’ll let me.

3. They offer a new perspective. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little jaded. It doesn’t come naturally to me to always see the good and the positive in every situation. My kids on the other hand? That’s about all they do see. I wake up and feel miserable that it’s rainy outside and we’ll be stuck indoors all day. They see it as a giant watering can pouring down on us, and can’t wait to snuggle under a pillow fort and watch movies. I was making dinner the other day and the golden hour sun was streaming in, and I said “Gosh, the sun is in my eyes so bad right now!” My daughter? She found an especially sunny square on the hardwoods and asked if we could twirl right in the light.

4. They keep us humble. There’s nothing like a child’s honesty to put you right in your place, and I’m grateful for the reality check every once in a while. My son is the first to remind me when I cover him with kisses first thing in the morning that I need to brush my teeth first. When I was recovering from my second birth, I had some pretty significant postpartum hair loss, and as my daughter watched me getting ready one morning, she commented that I looked a little like grandma with thin wisps of hair where my once-thick bangs used to lie. Do I love hearing everything they have to say? Absolutely not! Yet, I know everything they tell me is unfiltered and raw as it comes, and it’s a great way to discern the truth.

5. It’s a love like no other. I remind myself every day, when the dishes are piled high and the stack of laundry is higher, that this is hands-down the most loved and needed I will ever be. I’ll never be as young and covered in adoration as I am in this little house, with these little hands reaching for me every five seconds. Even when I’m short with my children at the end of the long day and I can’t wait for bedtime, I miss them the second I walk down the stairs. My daughter told me just last week that she loves everything about me, and I about melted into a puddle right there in the preschool pickup line. My son’s first word? It wasn’t ball, or bat, or car. It was love.

There you have it. Sure, parenthood is full of twists and turns, and there are days when we think we absolutely can’t take another step without crumbling. Yet, for all its challenges, the beautiful thing is that it’s usually more rewarding than hard. Here’s to the mamas and the papas who are right there in the thick of it all. Whether your kids are newborns, toddlers, teenagers, or grown adults, it’s the most incredible journey. And it’s all worth it. Every bump in the road and every switchback is worth it. Every messy house, shed tear, stained favorite blouse, and headache. Just look at them.

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