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Life is Like a Box of Cheerios

Katry Maurice

From a young age I knew where I was going. I am a decision maker and I make things happen. I plan and organize to ensure a clear path toward my goals. Naturally, my high school graduation picture in the year book is accompanied by my future plans: "I want to have a great career in teaching, get married and have 3 children, possibly 4." Oh 17 year old me, you are ambitious and naive.

​Reality hit me hard when juggling a teaching career, marriage and 1 child, 2 children, 3 children. It was also hard admit it was difficult because it felt incredibly hypocritical to become so overwhelmed with the life I have always dreamt of. I asked for this. I wanted this, so why do I feel like I'm drowning? Let's face it, to quote The Tale of Two Cities, the baby stage; "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

​My husband and I decided that 3 children would be our number. We had found our balance and had started to sleep again. His appointment process for a vasectomy had begun and the finality was real. I made sure to cherish every baby moment with my 3rd; this sweet, laid back ray of sunshine that completed our beautiful family. He entered our chaos so easily and it was bittersweet to call him my last. 

As he grew out of his clothing, toys and other baby things, I would gladly give it all away to anyone who needed it. My baby was 6 months old, the decluttering was in process, my husband's surgery was just around the corner and my period was late. Surprise! Life said, "Fuck you! Haha! Here's a baby bump, a tiny hiccup, an oopsie daisy." 

I knew. I just knew, even before I peed on the stick. This was not a part of my plan, not the updated version anyway. I looked in the mirror and began to laugh. I proceeded to walk around in a daze, unable to process, unable to grasp the idea of 4. 

I told my husband and he was the calmest, sweetest part of all this. I was panicking and he looked  into my eyes, gently placed his hands on each side of my head and said: "I know we can do this and there's no one else I'd see myself doing this with." Deep breath. I knew we would be okay. 

That day, I laughed, I cried, I panicked and I cried again because I had to shorten my maternity leave to go back to work. A bit later that day, my state of mind made preparing cereal for the kids a confusing task; at which point, I dropped an entire new box of Cheerios on the floor. From the other room, my husband asked, "What was that?" As I looked at the mess on the floor flooded with Cheerios, I sarcastically replied, "My life." 

I was right. It had become my life and I am thankful it did. It taught me to go with the flow and to embrace the unexpected, the unplanned. Baby number 4 was written in the stars (here I picture Cheerio constellations). I had gone back to work, we had moved to the country and we have learned - we have grown, obviously in more ways than one. Since, we have been through many unplanned circumstances and difficult times, but we managed. This family of mine, our beautiful mess is more than everything I've ever wanted. 

Plans cannot be written in stone. Change is inevitable and paths are bumpy for a reason.

Besides, even if I pick up all the Cheerios to clean up my mess, one or two of them are bound to fall out of my shirt at night before I go to bed. 

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