It's weird how something major in your life can happen, and while you're waiting for it to happen you can know so little about it and wonder so much, but then soon after it happens, it feels like it's always been that way the whole time. It felt that way with going into the mission field, coming back from serving a mission, getting married, and most recently with having Jane.
I remember wondering so much about what it would be like to have a kid - to not be able to go to movies freely anymore, or to doing a round of 9 with Amy for FHE, or any of the other things that are easy to do when you don't have kids. (Incidentally, shouldn't there be a word for married people without children? MWOC? Maybe I'll just use that.)
Every so often Amy and I will get out on a date night and all of sudden it comes back how easy it is to be MWOC. You get in and out of a car without having to pick anything else up. You walk into a restaurant and don't have to pick up a high chair. Heck, you walk in and don't even have to worry about what it is that your kid is going to eat for a meal. You can walk into a movie theater and hold hands and it makes sense and doesn't feel forced. That's how it feels, by the way, when you try and hold hands with your spouse and you're also carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or holding onto whatever else. It just doesn't make sense to do that, let alone to do the whole door opening thing at the car.
It's so refreshing and nice to have those date nights because it is so easy to just focus on the one that you're with. It becomes such an important thing to do.
And it's during these times that makes me realize how much purpose having Jane brings into my life. I don't just live for myself. Things start to change somewhat when you get married because you can see the impact with immediacy of what your actions and decisions do to the other person, but with a child, it becomes so much bigger. Amy can take care of herself at the restaurant, but Jane doesn't eat if I/we don't think of her. Jane doesn't survive from today through tomorrow if her needs aren't one of the first things that I think of in the day.
That's how it felt a few weeks ago when Amy and I went out. It's not that you can't have meaning when you don't have kids, but having your own family thrusts meaning full force to the very front and center of everything that you do. It is easily one of the most challenging things that I've ever confronted, not because the task of changing diapers, getting food, or anything else you do with babies is difficult, but because it is so constant. And then those needs grow in importance over time.
The nice thing is how rewarding it is. Jane is such a vibrant source of happiness for me. I wonder all the time what it is that filled up my life before this and I really don't know. I guess I just never had any idea then.