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.