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There was a (brief) time when I felt like my children had stolen some years of my life.

IMG_5445Everyone, everyone tells you that the days are long but the years are short, but you don’t always register that until you suddenly have four little miniatures of your husband clamoring for breakfast before you’ve had any coffee.  And for me, that feeling came when I woke up to wrinkles. My face looking older overnight, it seemed.

Of course, it was overnight. Over nights of turning my extended womb over in bed like the closing of an enormously heavy encyclopedia and the countless nights of nursing newborns. Over nights of croup fever and stomach flues that shocked us awake to the rancid smell of vomit in bed.

I was there for all the years between 25 and 30, I was. Yet those years slam against me all at once, like a slap in the face when I get up in the morning to a face that aged without my permission.

It’s true, my children have stolen from me.

IMG_5422This morning, Isaac stole half of my second piece of pumpkin bread, and approximately 300 calories I didn’t need.  (He also stole my heart with the cuteness of how he said “punkin bed” in his two-year-old voice.)

Yesterday, Abby stole my seat beside Susanna so she could captivate the baby with her songs.

Last week, Susanna stole my dignity by pooping all over the nursery volunteer at church, exposing the fact that I had no back-up outfit in my cute new diaper bag.

During the years of 2010 and 2011, Benjamin stole my pride and impatience, and my ego still hasn’t recovered.

They have stolen my time in front of the mirror and on the treadmill, pursuing vanity and self-satisfaction. They have stolen large portions of my laziness with their constant needs.

Benjamin David

Benjamin David

They have stolen my have-it-all-together reputation, my I’m-too-big-for-my-britches self-importance, my sub-conscious “life’s-all-about-me” philosophy. They have stolen my lackadaisical attitude to finances, and my desire to go to the mall and spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need.  They have stolen my ability to take blessings for granted, and my prideful resistance to receiving help from others.

They have stolen my judgmental attitude towards other parents, my “I would never do that” Pharisee’s heart, and a lot of my shyness when meeting someone else with small children. All in all, I think they really have stolen years of my life.

Addition by subtraction.