Even Exchanges

Even Exchanges

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

Even Exchanges

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

John Wooden

I have found that being a mom is all about exchanges. Sometimes the exchange doesn’t quite seem fair, yet at other times I have made an exchange that is so far in my favor that I know that God is watching over all of us moms, helping us to balance the scales. He helps to ease the pain of the unfavorable exchanges by blessing us with more than we could ever imagine when we become mothers.

Some of the exchanges elicit a sigh as I longingly remember the way things used to be. As a mom, I’ve exchanged deep, uninterrupted sleep for recurrent late-night nursing sessions with a newborn. I’ve traded in the flashy, two-door convertible for a sensible, no-nonsense minivan. I’ve exchanged a firm, smooth stomach for a little extra jiggle adorned with stretch marks. The sexy little string bikini has been swapped for a one-piece swimsuit with attached skirt. My spotless walls are now decorated with peanut butter and jelly fingerprints. I’ve replaced candlelit, romantic dinners for two with bright, noisy dinners for four in restaurants that serve toys with their meals. My perfectly styled hair has been switched to a quick pull-it-all-out-of-my-face-didn’t-have-time-for-a-shower ponytail. My cute little Gucci handbag has been switched with a mammoth diaper bag.

Other exchanges cause me to pause and take in the wonder of it all and realize how grateful I am to be a part of the sisterhood of moms. For example, I’ve exchanged my commonplace view of the world for the wonder and excitement of seeing everything for the first time through my child’s eyes. My serious personality has been transformed into a fun-loving temperament with a knack for making up silly songs and dances that make my child smile when she is hurt or sad. I have traded my rigid, structured routine with a spontaneity that allows time for an extra story at bedtime and one more hug. My constant rushing and hurriedness have been replaced by a slower pace that allows time to stop and catch a firefly or pick a dandelion. My materialistic priorities have been substituted with a knowledge of what truly matters in this world—health and family. And of course, most important of all, I have exchanged my self-centered heart with a heart that overflows with more love, care, and concern for another human being than I ever thought possible.

Truly, as a mom, I am actually making the ultimate exchange: exchanging my self-centered life for a life full of willing sacrifice. I am dedicating my life to caring for and nurturing another human soul that will carry on after I’ve gone. Now that is an exchange worth making.

Tessa Floehr

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