I met my husband Matt after college while we were both living in Kansas City. During our 16 years of marriage, we have moved to Lincoln and been blessed with three childrenā€“ Paige (13), Abby (12), and Ben (9). I work part-time as a freelance writer and editor, and full-time as a mom.

Most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent driving the kids here and thereā€“and then back to here again. My minivan is my BFF.

I like to spend my free time trying new recipes, jazzercising, growing flowers, going out to eat, and watching Downton Abbey reruns.

My youngest’s tenth birthday is approaching, and it reminds me of the last time I was a patient in Bryan Hospitalā€™s Labor and Delivery Birthplace. This was before the days of the beautiful, new women’s tower, but to me it seemed like a day at the spa!

Before you consider me loony, let me explain.

I had both a toddler and a preschooler at home, and trying to care for them while carrying around a bowling ball in my stomach had me mentally and physically exhausted.

My post-delivery room at Bryan was quiet. I had no little person poking me, crying, whining, or needing help finding a toy lost under the couch. I watched an entire episode of American Idol without interruptionā€¦ while lying in bed. They brought me food morning, noon, and night, and I didnā€™t have to clean any dishes. A nurse actually tucked me in and brought extra pillows. She even turned on the heat in the bathroom the next morning so I could be warm in the shower. I wanted to hug her, but it would have required heaving my body out of bed.

The icing on the cake was the cutest baby boy on the face of the earth lying next to me.

It was heaven. I almost faked an illness when they starting using the words “hospital discharge.” Matt was worried I might check into long-term patient care.

My two-day Bryan Hospital ā€œspa retreatā€ was fabulous, but I missed my two little busy-bodies. They were dying to have their baby brother home so they could show him their Care Bears.

When baby Ben and I arrived home, the reality of being outnumbered set in for Matt and me. We quickly learned that parenting can be a lot about sacrifice, such as sacrificing time, sleep, a new pair of boots, or even sacrificing our selfish desire to always want to make our kids happy.

Every child is a gift on loan from God. As parents, our job is to raise that child to be an independent adult who can contribute to the world using the gifts and talents he or she was given. It is hands-down the most important job on earth!

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