"Are they worth it?" She asked, as we were enjoying our meal of cilantro lime rice and black beans at a local restaurant.
"What?" I asked, mesmerized by my meal.
"Kids, are they worth it?"
I sat for a minute, thinking. "Of course!" And proceeded to finish my meal.
I am washing dishes when I hear the bang. "Oh no," I think "what is it now?"
I walk into the living room greeted by glasses of spilled milk and water mixed in with half the container of garlic salt that Andrew had swiped from the kitchen. Emily is sitting amidst a pile of clothes, pillows, and sheets playing dress-up but the culprit is nowhere to be seen. I hear the water running in the bathroom. I walk over and find him completely naked in a sink full of warm, soapy bubbles. The now empty soap container is floating in the water and while soapy water spills from the sink onto the floor. I pick him out, call for Emily, and lock us in my room where I proceed to cry for a good hour as they play around me.
"But why? I hear the stories you tell, it sounds like way too much work for a thankless, endless job.
"You're right. It is a lot of work."
I am in the bathroom after my third miscarriage, tears pouring down my face. Emily walks in and grabs my hand. "Mommy, why are you crying?"
"I'm sad. I lost another baby."
"Mommy, you can have a baby!" She reaches up and grabs me; I hold her tight. Andrew soon toddles in with a grin on his face. I bring them both on the counter and accept their wet kisses.
Later that afternoon, they snuggle with me in my bed and tell me all sorts of stories from their day. They alternate between stroking my face tenderly and tickling my belly. My heart is full of love.
"Honestly, describing how it's both hard, exhausting work and an absolute joy is difficult. Yes, I've stayed up for 48 hours straight when one of my kids was sick. Yes, they've made some pretty horrific messes that left me in tears. Yes, they refuse to go to bed until after 10 pm and only if they are in my room."
"But, there are also a million moments that sound impossibly fake - like how Andrew says "are you going to sleep with me?" at night and melts my heart, or how Emily converses with her brother while they are playing, or those first few nights after they were both born when I had them to myself in the hospital room and started our new, beautiful mommy-baby relationship."
"The hard parts of parenting pale in comparison to the joy I feel when I hold one my kids after a tough day, or snuggle with them when we wake in the morning."
"Is it hard? The hardest effing thing I've ever done."
"Is it worth it? Heck yes. My life is busier and more full since adding Emily and Andrew to the family."
"Hmmm" my friend said. "Thank you."
What do you think, are they worth it? How would you answer this question?