This Valentine's Day I've come to a shocking conclusion: my internal list of Things I Love Most in the World has radically changed. Oh, of course I don't mean friends or family and all that. They will always be on it. I mean things like, say, Godiva chocolates, fancy jewelry or Paris in the spring. Somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, they've fallen off the list and have been replaced by leak-free diapers and stain remover. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that such a sophisticated, sane person like me can't possibly love stain remover more than Godiva chocolates. And there was a time that I'd say you were right. But that was before I became a mother of a child-who-goes-through-tee-shirts-like-Kleenex.
In fact, and this may come as a shock, having children has caused me to appreciate things I never thought appreciable.
So, for Valentine's Day, I've made a new list of Things I Love Most in the World:
What I loved before having children: Discovering a romantic hide-a-way for two.
What I love now: Discovering a spare pacifier wedged between the cushions in the back seat of the car.
Before: Fredrick’s of Hollywood lingerie.
Now: Bathing suits with skirts.
Before: Listening to public radio.
Now: Listening to the neighbor's dinner conversation through the baby monitor.
Before: Spending time alone inYosemite Valley.
Now: Spending time alone inside the bathroom.
Before: Dancing until midnight.
Now: Going to bed at 7:30.
Before: White River rafting down the Russian river.
Now: Staying dry during bath time.
Before: Loud heavy metal rock concerts.
Now: A baby swing that doesn't screech when you rewind it.
Before: The portrait of Monet's Garden.
Now: The crayon picture, stuck to the refrigerator, of me as a tall, purple stick figure with a lolly-pop head.
Before: A dozen red roses.
Now: A sturdy swim diaper.
Before: Sensitive men who are in touch with their feminine side and not afraid to share their innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Now: Men who paint.
Now: Juice boxes.
Before: The Macarena.
Before: Harrison Ford, Dennis Quad, and Richard Gere.
Now: Arthur, Franklin, and "Steve".
Before: Traveling across Europe with a backpack and a Eurorail pass.
Now: Walking down the driveway to get the mail.
Before: Imported Italian leather.
Before: Anything Armani.
Now: Anything preassembled.
Before: AMaking it all of the way up Half Dome with nothing, but a rope, a backpack and my bare hands.
Now: Getting a straw all the way inside of a juice box without poking a hole through the sides and dripping red punch down my leg.
Before: Long love notes.
Now: Short picture books.
Before: Veal chops in Dijon mustard sauce and grilled Atlantic salmon over pasta with raspberry butter.
Now: Strained baby peaches.
Before: French cologne.
Before: Hot red sandals.
Now: Orthopedic tennis shoes.
Before: The quote, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breath and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace."
Now: The words, "Mommy, I love you."