I had dinner with a new friend last night, and she brought along her husband and two young sons. Being that my teenage children are away at camp, I happily joined their family outing and delighted in watching the boys as we ate. As memories of my own children's younger years came flooding back, my friend commented, "What did we ever do with our time before kids?" a few thoughts immediately flashed into my mind:
I went out a lot more.
Before kids, my life was all about music and shows. My husband's band played often, and when he wasn't gigging we were watching someone else. We drove all over the western states and even went to Europe to follow bands. Once the kids were born, however, that ground to a halt.
I read more books.
Before kids, I loved nothing more than snuggling up with a good book for hours after dinner, in the morning, or during any time away from work. I carried a book in my purse, in the car, and my stack of 'must reads' barely had time to catch dust. Once the kids were born I still read, but "What To Expect Your First Year of Parenting" just didn't have the same appeal.
I cooked interesting meals.
Before kids, I cooked everything from scratch because I wanted to. I had time to make fresh rolls for burgers, grew my own veggies, and marinated meat for more than 30 minutes. After kids, I felt lucky to have something green on the plate once in awhile, and relied on the bakery for fresh bread.
I sewed, embroidered, knitted and gardened.
Before kids, I loved making clothes, pillows, and bedding. I hunted fabric stores and actually enjoyed creating from the ground up. I was decent at cross stitch and embroidery, finished 1 ½ sweaters, and had a nearly weedless garden. After kids, I made a few Halloween costumes, ½ finished a cross stitch birth announcement and hired a man to mow my grass.
But despite the loss of time and lack of creativity, I have learned a few lessons about myself. I know that instead of going out to hear music, we can create our own on the piano. I've learned that the joy of reading 'Harry Potter' aloud for the umptenth time is a blissful way to end the day. I know that it's not about what you cook, but the time spent sharing a meal together that really counts. And I've learned that I can satisfy my creative outlets with drawing chalk masterpieces on the driveway, making friendship bracelets, and simply growing tomato and basil in a scrubby patch of dirt.
Before kids I certainly had a lot more time to fill. But after, I am certain I have a full heart. I wouldn't trade that for a second.