priorities.

This morning, I went to get the kids out of bed as always.  I got their clothes ready, and put Lyra’s shirt and pants onto the radiator while I dressed Quinn.  She doesn’t like getting undressed when it’s cold outside, so I warm up her outfit before it’s her turn to get dressed.

When they were both dressed, we went to the kitchen for breakfast.  I made French Toast for both, and checked the fridge for yogurt while the toast was frying.  There were two cups of yogurt left.  You know the top layer of cream on yogurt, the stuff that eats almost like whipped cream?  The kind of yogurt we get at the farm is like that all the way to the bottom.  I opened both containers and gave one to each of the kids.  I thought we had three left, and I had planned on eating some for breakfast myself, but I didn’t keep one and have them split the other.  Instead, I watched them as they shoveled the yogurt into their mouths and then practically licked out the cups.  (Did I mention it’s really creamy yogurt?)  Then I served them their French toast and their drinks—cold milk for Lyra, warm milk for Quinn.  All the while, we were having a conversation about the general yumminess of breakfast, the specific yumminess of the yogurt, and the color and texture of powdered sugar, which Quinn classified as “delicious”.

I watched my two children eating their breakfast, dressed in clean and comfortable clothes, and exchanging smiles and giggles with each other.  They are warm, fed, and happy, and they have parents who will do anything to keep them warm, fed, and happy, no matter what it takes.

Some things change before they’re born.  You turn one room into your child’s place, you buy tons of things you never knew you’d need, and you trade in the two-door coupe for a minivan or station wagon.  You child-proof the house, you plug covers into outlets, and you screw Dammit latches onto the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors.

Some things change after they’re born.  You learn how to change a poopy diaper, and how to bring a bottle to just the right temperature for a delicate and particular little customer.  You change your job, or cut down your hours, or work from home or quit altogether, so one of you can stay at home and care for the child.  You learn to live on fewer hours of sleep, and you learn to dig up reserves of patience you never even suspected you had.

And then there are some things that change without notice.  You don’t know when those changes occurred precisely, but one day you find yourself making breakfast for your children, and you’re talking about the snow outside, or the delicious properties of powdered sugar, and you find yourself realizing that at some point in the journey between holding them for the first time and watching them playing peek-a-boo with each other across the kitchen table, covering their eyes with sugar-dusted fingers, something profound has happened.  You know without a doubt that you have ceased to consider yourself the most important person in your life.

And you find that you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Quinn, Valentine baby lyra10

13 thoughts on “priorities.

  1. Eric says:

    Marko, thanks for the morning smile!

  2. angus lincoln says:

    You are a blessed man Marko.
    I felt the same way 17 years ago!

  3. Brandon says:

    Great post. Being Daddy is pretty special.

  4. scotaku says:

    Great post, Marko. Thanks for the reminder to look at the kids with those “other” eyes, the ones that aren’t so tired from being all busy with Grown Up Stuff.

  5. Markhb says:

    Beautiful post. So not ready.

  6. jimbob86 says:

    Yep.

    ……And Markhb- My MIL said awhile back that if you wait until you are absolutely sure you are ready to have kids, you won’t have them.

  7. MarkHB says:

    jimbob86 –

    Then I will have absolutely defended my future offspring from improper parenting. Which, to me, is more important than breeding.

  8. MarkHB says:

    I should clarify.

    Jimbob86, I was Raised Wrong. I’ve always known I was alone in the world, of no special value to anyone bar what I built with my words and my hands. I know I’m alone. Until I can give every single day of my life to my kids, I *WILL NOT* breed. That day hasn’t come, nor do I see it coming. If that means I die childless and alone, so be it. I will not have any offspring of mine know themselves to be nothing but a burden to their parents. No sir, no how, no way. I’d rather die leaving only my work, art, and words.

    I’d love to be a dad, and to have a loving wife with whom to share a future for our kids – but life just doesn’t seem shaped that way for me. But I willl not – repeat, NOT – risk having to work 20 hour days or work in remote lands to raise kids I don’t see every single gorram day.

    That one is just ground in bone deep. My brother seemed to miss it, don’t know how – think he’s serving in Afghanistan at the moment, two kids at home and a wife he seens two months of twelve. I don’t know how he does it. I honestly do not.

  9. Epijunky says:

    Marko… I’m a lurker but I couldn’t help but comment on this one.

    As a parent to two of my own little ones… You’ve summed up what being a Mommy, a Daddy, a parent is like better than I ever could.

    It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you.

  10. Jerry says:

    It is post like this one that remind why I keep reading. Me = you 28 years ago.

    I’m reliving now with my grandchildren and watching my kids as they learn the art of parenting.

    I enjoy your blog and comment on other topics. Sometimes we agree. 🙂

  11. crankylitprof says:

    Yes — it’s amazing how children wrap themselves in to your very soul.

    I can’t imagine life without the little blighters.

  12. David says:

    Great post!

  13. Arthur says:

    What an amazing post.

    I just recently had the joy of witnessing my daughter being born. What an eye opening experience. And I mean that in the best way possible.

    The only thing I would add – and I realize I’m still a rookie in the parent department – is that kids have a way of making us adults slow. They allow us to take the time to appreciate powdered sugar.

    I know I can be having the worst day, or worrying about things I cannot control, and one look at my new little daughter and that all magically goes away.

    Thanks for this post.

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