“I don’t want kids for a while,” my friend said, pushing her blonde ringlets behind her ears matter-of-factly. “There’s just too many adventures I want to have first.”
I pressed my hands into the couch and nodded. The room was silent, and the only sound was my 1-year-old, knees bent, shuffling through his basket of toys.
I thought about the adventures I had in my life before becoming a mom. The bright orange backpack I’d strapped on as I hiked hundreds of miles in Europe. The gray, early morning sky that grew wider as I scaled 14ers in Colorado. The yellow sun in my eyes as I squinted while playing my violin on the Great Wall of China. The blue, cold, salty water on my ankles as I waded in the Pacific Ocean.
But the story I really wanted to tell my friend was about the day my son first saw a snail. That day was a Tuesday. Rain had streamed down the windows all morning. My 10-month-old son held a wooden spoon and stared out of the window.
As I swept the floor, I wrestled with the odd adjustment that happens when a mom quits her job to stay home with her first baby. Was I doing enough? How was I supposed to fill these hours at home?
When we couldn’t hear the rain hitting the roof anymore, I gently pushed my son’s tiny arms into his red jacket, and we wandered outside. That was when I saw it—a tiny white shell on the driveway.
“Hey look! There’s a snail!” I pointed. My son craned his neck to see. His jaw dropped. His blue eyes grew wide. He sat perfectly still, his eyes fixed on the tiny shell.
As I watched him, my heart swelled. All of my insecurity about being a stay-at-home mom started to fade. It was replaced with a kind of proud, unspeakable gratefulness that made me want to cry and laugh all at once.
I took a breath and looked my friend in her clear, blue eyes, “I totally get that. But I have to tell you. Having kids doesn’t take away your adventures. It makes every single moment one.”