ten ways [the she version] part 2

Part 2! Go!

"Ten Ways I am Different From 2008 Me!"

- I am much less sarcastic. Really. I am. I feel like there should be more to say here, but I'm erring on the side of "The less I say, the more true this difference will seem."

- If I get the urge, I can run a mile or two without feeling like I'm dying. This does not sound impressive, I know. But I have never been a runner. The ORU Fun Runs were always a source of inevitable embarrassment for me. So the fact that I can now, ten years/two kids/100 pints of ice cream later, go run a mile or two whenever I want without too much effort is a big deal. A big change. A good change.

- I think I'm significantly less weird. Or, at the very least, I have managed to install a low-functioning filter on my speech and actions. It sometimes makes life less fun and almost always makes life a little less awkward, but it is a change that I am sure the world appreciates. Sometimes I wonder how in the world Jason fell in love with me all those years ago. I was quite the odd duck. Good thing he didn't mind waterfowl.

- I understand God as a Father. This could probably be broadened into its own post all by itself, but I'll try to keep it brief. God has a lot of roles and God as Father is a big one, but I don't think I could ever fully wrap my head around it. In 2008 as a non-parent, I could only attempt to understand this particular relationship through the lens of being the child, and as it turns out, this really didn't give me the full scope of who He was to me. Once I became a parent, it pretty suddenly all made sense. The answer to the question of "Why even make beings who you know are going to mess up and turn from you and hate you?" The magnitude of what He did on the cross. Everything. God as my Father suddenly became a relationship I could completely wrap my head around. It was a neat light bulb moment.

- I am no longer [as bad of] a sympathetic cry-er. Honestly, I'm not sure this counts as a change since I'm pretty sure the stoic, unbidden tears still come if I have to watch an adult cry. BUT, I do not feel the urge to cry at all for, like, 99% of Lucas's and Finley's bawling events, so I think this surely counts as not being an absolute sympathetic cry-er like I feel like I used to be. I can stare at them right in their bright red, tear-streaked, bubbly-nosed faces and not feel even a smidgen of impending tears. Not a drop. And so mark it as progress I will!

- I worry and stress about things so much more. I blame mom-hood 100%. I love a good 92% of the changes that came from becoming a mom, but I dislike this change so.much. The fear of the unknown. The late night What If-ing. The anxiety of things all-the-time, inevitably, falling through the cracks. The stress of not being/doing "enough." It's rough sometimes. I want the best for my kids. I want them safe. I want them to feel loved. I want them happy and healthy and thriving. I don't know why these desires so often translate into worry and stress as that seems rather counterproductive. It is something I am constantly trying to work on [which, ironically, sometimes leads to even more stress...]. Because the bottom line is, I want to give them the best of me. And the best of me can't happen when I'm curled up with a sick stomach over some maybe-down-the-road tragedy. So. There's that. A work in progress I am. [A weird/sad side effect of this change is that I no longer enjoy storms. I used to love the sound of rain pounding away on the roof or the excitement of potentially losing electricity and having to use flashlights. No more. Now all I can think about is, "Will more of our shingles blow off? Will that thunder wake the boys? How am I going to calm the kids/make dinner/salvage the food in the fridge?" No fun at all. Le sigh.]

- I understand eating cheese. I used to think all cheese tasted the same. Cheese is cheese is cheese is meh. Take it or leave it. But now, for better [taste buds] or worse [waistline], I GET CHEESE. I know cheese names. I have a cursory understanding of the cheese-ing process. I can identify cheeses by sight and some even by taste. I'm not any cheese connoisseur, not even close. The fancy cheeses and the moldy cheeses and the cheeses that have names I can't pronounce... I'm still oblivious to their finer qualities and elite statuses. But the normal, everyday man cheeses, I get them. I understand their appeal. I accept that they make life tastier. I stand with you, cheeses!

- I have more self-confidence and can even speak with librarians without wanting to cry. Let's not get carried away here. I don't mean that I can now hold spur-of-the-moment coherent conversations with librarians [or anyone else for that matter] BUT I can approach the circulation desk and make a request without overthinking it for five minutes. My voice no longer quivers [though my volume control is still a bit wonky]. I can even smile and sorta look pleasant while doing it. I realize this probably does not sound like a boost in self-confidence at all, but trust me, it is. This change/progress can even be expanded to include people like cashiers and neighbors and sometimes customer service folks. I won't be able to think of anything to say beyond the initial pleasantries or the customer-to-employee request, but I can confidently carry out those menial tasks without wanting to be swallowed into the ground. Baby steps, I tell you.

- I no longer see a screaming child in the store and automatically think, "What a bratty kid. Man, if I was his parent..." Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect. And sometimes being a parent now makes me feel like I have earned the right to raise my eyebrows and feel smug that my kid hasn't thrown a fit in public today. And I do often see poor behavior rewarded which instinctively makes me cringe on a good day and secretly judge on a bad day. But more often than not, I hear a wailing kid and instantly feel for the parent. I know what it's like to have a completely irrational child throwing a completely irrational fit and to feel the growing sense of panic or desperation or frustration. "Please, oh please, oh please, just stop screaming." It was interesting how quickly I noticed this change in perspective once I became a parent to the baby who red-faced angry yelled at any unfamiliar face; who seemed to time his cranky, fragile phases around the weeks where we had special outings or get togethers planned; and who took 9 months to smile at a non-family-member. Life happens, and with a kid that often means life happens with so.many.emotions whirling around. An inconsolable child doesn't necessarily mean rotten behavior or poor parenting. Oftentimes it just means a wee one with a missed nap or a late lunch or an irrational attraction to the normal smiley face drawn on the Costco receipt and not a rabbit smiley face. So now, instead of rolling my eyes and hearing snarky comments in my head, I find myself instinctively sending up a quick prayer for grace for the mom. Growth! 

I can make some pretty good sheep/goat warbles. Also, I have really upped my horse whinny game. Reading books to kids really enhances skills you didn't even know needed to be enhanced. My chicken? I can bawk and cluck with the best of them. My dog? I can woof, bark, bow wow, ruff, arf, and howl. My cat? I can fool Puma. My cow needs more depth. My donkey still leaves much to be desired. My pig lacks that gutteral snort that really sells it. But my caprines? I can do flocks and herds of them, young or old, content or otherwise. I have even been known to sing the alphabet song as a sheep or goat; it's always a big hit. Basically, feel free to book me for your next birthday bash for children 3 and under - I'm as entertaining as a bounce house with a slow leak, and much cheaper.

So, there you have it! Ten more things. What's the takeaway from this post and the last? Let me bullet point it for you:
  • Compared to pre-married me ten years ago, I am the same in at least ten largely unimportant ways.
  • Compared to pre-married me ten years ago, I am different in at least ten largely unimportant ways.
  • It is actually easier to think up differences than similarities.
  • I can write forever about nothing in particular.
  • I like ice cream.
Jason will be up next with his ten-plus-ten ways. He is also in charge of coming up with the next Ten Years topic, so get excited about that. Now, be on your way whilst I continue to think about ice cream.

my two best differents

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