Life SO radically changes once children enter your home, and the new identity of "parent" seems to take precedence over all else.
And now, as a mama of two little ones, I look back at those years with much more fondness than I had going through them. I can be thankful for that time God used to strengthen our friendship and marriage through the struggles of infertility.
Our life was relatively "free," meaning we didn't have anyone else's schedules to consider other than our own. We could go to MOVIES! Or travel! Or stay out past 7:00pm! (gasp!)
Though we didn't realize it at the time,
(and didn't know how to be truly thankful for it)
marriage before children was really more like a non-stop date.
Our life before kids was pouring into college students at Texas Tech.
(Without having to pay babysitters.)
We could have students over until all hours of the night, and just sleep in the next day.
(I'm seriously trying to pause and remember what that's like...)
Our life with children was being Uncle Marc and Moose Moose.
I LOVED my child-free time with my nephews when they were little. I could truly be invested in their lives without worrying about my own.
Our life was Stonewall and Jackie, our two outdoor cats. (see, we were meant to live in Virginia...)
From my perspective now, life before kids was honestly much easier.
I mean, when you needed to get out, you could just go get in your car.
So why become a parent?
Certainly not because it's more fun.
(that should be pretty obvious when you see all the frazzled moms with young children.)
I honestly knew having kids would rock my world and would mean dying to myself,
yet I also believed that's where God probably intended me to grow in grace.
At the end of our years of infertility treatments,
God in His kindness slooowly began to show us the beauty of adoption.
We were too afraid to commit to an agency,
but told everyone we knew we were hoping to adopt.
We felt our hearts realizing adoption was God's plan "A" for our family,
and we just wanted it to fall in our lap.
And in His timing, our lives intersected with a girl named Megan's. We couldn't have asked for a better birthmommy.
She invited us to an ultrasound.
She wanted us at Caroline's birth.
She wanted us to stay the night at the hospital all together.
We are so grateful for how, even in the midst of her own heartache and sacrifice, she was able to let us experience these amazing moments as parents.
Of course, the rest is history. Our lives (and our sleeping schedule) would never be the same.
We'd rarely have a quiet dinner or a clean house again.
But what we gained (and who we gained) was worth all of it.
Parenting wasn't (and isn't) easy. It breaks you down, and it simultaneously lifts you up.
It brings great joy and great sorrow, it gives life new meaning. You see the world now through another's perspective.
Parenting is a job that never "lets up" when you're tired, or sick, or emotionally spent. It forces you to push through these things and try to come out the other end better for it.
It's the opportunity (and the attempt) to love another so selflessly just as our Savior has loved us.
And it's worth every moment.