For the full effect, listen while reading. :)
Last week I got up early one morning hoping to sneak out to the grocery store before anyone was up. I didn't make it. My five year old was up with me, so I packed her and the baby up and took them to Starbucks for an early morning 'date' with mommy.
I pulled up in my very well-loved minivan and unloaded my kids - one who had dressed herself and one still in pjs. I'd thrown on some jeans and a hoodie and pulled my hair back - no makeup, no frills. Beside me was an immaculate silver Mercedes convertible. A young woman stepped out, heels clicking the parking lot, Louis Vuitton bag swinging by her side, hair and makeup perfect. She graciously held the door for me. And I was jealous.
For a moment I wondered what it would be like to get up every morning and, you know, shower. Without interruption. To stop for coffee on the way to an important meeting. To smell like Vera Wang instead of throw up.
And then I looked at my baby, grinning toothlessly, and I remembered why I gave up the satisfaction of a career. Because I wouldn't trade the chance to be with my kids as they grow up for extra paychecks, or time with adults, or pedicures, or even a Mercedes. As much satisfaction as a career can bring, for me life is too short.
I don't have to miss first steps or forts in the living room. I get to be there as my kids learn to read, learn to multiply, learn how to get along. Right now my 10 month old and 2 year old have discovered the door stop and are cracking up at the 'boing' sound it makes when they pull it back and let go.
And I wouldn't trade that for anything.
In a few years, they'll be gone. There will be plenty of quiet. The house will be clean. I'll take long showers and read books. But I'll never have the chance to get these days back. Maybe someday I'll have a career again. But whether I ever get my Mercedes, I'll be content knowing that I had something far more precious.