Monday, August 9, 2004

It changes everything. And I've finally admitted it to myself. Not just a few things, some things or most things, but EVERYTHING. Actually, I should clarify my original statement: "It changes everything, if you let it... and will eventually change everything, even if you don't."

Yes, it took life through six years of our first child and nine months with our triplets for silly me to come to this obvious conclusion. Having and raising children changes everything - from the priorities we set for our life to the simple use of time in our day and from the way we look at the big picture to the way we look at ordinary every day activities. It all changes. Not necessarily better or worse in all things, but it just changes into another adventurous and unfolding chapter in our life.

When I was single and in my late 20s, I found myself slowly becoming surrounded by friends and family that were married and having children. The time spent with these individuals became somewhat less and I chalked it up to them "selling out" - settling down, becoming set in their ways, choosing to be less adventurous and free-spirited as I was. What I failed to recognize was the change in direction their adventure was taking them (i.e. more demanding schedule, change in priorities, etc.) and my inability to find a new place in their adventure. They weren't settling down but simply gearing up and changing directions. At that time in my life, I somehow missed the lane change and kept going... thinking I left them behind.

Now, in my early 40s, I am beginning to experience a very similar change in direction that I saw in others. With three newborns and an increasingly active six-year-old, the change in direction comes. Am I still the same relatively insane individual I've always been? Not much is going to change that, but my daily schedule (as a stay-at-home father) has changed considerably. My time is not my own and I can't complain; my children/family are the most worthy sacrifice (if you can even call it sacrifice). You only need to stop by our home at any given day or evening hour and there is always something to be done for or with the triplets alone (bottles, laundry, housecleaning, dishes, meals, floors, games, diapers - all threefold). But to the detriment of taking care of my family over these past months has been the decline of time and energy spent with friends and acquaintances. I can't even begin to explain [nor fully comprehend] the change that has occurred in our household since the birth of Emily, Hannah and Nicholas. Suffice to say, as I said in the beginning, it changes everything, if you let it... and will eventually change everything, even if you don't.

Over the past nine months, my wife Di and I have been notified by family and friends of: birth announcements, wedding announcements, job transfers, engagements, personal loss, residence relocation, elective and emergency surgery, military deployment, unemployment, etc. If you are one of these persons, please know that our lack of timely response is in no way indicative of our interest or care for you as a person and friend and of your well-being. Our only excuse is that our time has been occupied with still learning the terrain and necessary skills needed on our own new adventure. Please know that although you may still be waiting to hear from us in written word, you and yours have already been in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. It is my hope to get a personal note off to you in the near future.

Our new adventure has begun in the Hoedl abode for sure - it's not overwhelming, but it remains daunting from time to time. I'm ready to admit it and march onward down its unknown pathway. March onward on our new adventure we will, but we have had or have no intention of leaving any friends, acquaintances or family behind or out of the picture.

And do you mind if I share one more thought with you? This whole experience has changed me in another significant way. I'm coming to realize that my want for a concrete and sequential process in my life has no place in the world of needs of my children. No matter how many loads of laundry that are done to complete the task, there will be many loads to follow. It's never done. And no matter how many carpets and floors are cleaned, there will be many more spills and stains to follow. And again, it's never done. Thank goodness it's also comforting to know that no matter how many hugs we receive from our four munchkins, there will be many more to follow.

Thanks again for understanding and being patient down our new pathway.

hoedl's haven
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