Editor's note: A version of this column previously appeared on the author's blog.
I saw an article in the waiting room while I waited for our doctor to apply another cast on another one of my children. It discussed the perks of being an introvert. After I took the self-administered test, I realized I was pretty much off the charts.
I wish I had come to this self-knowledge before I had five children.
But I understand it now.
Like when my husband asks where we should go on our date night, and I say, “I want to stay here, but can we send our kids out somewhere else?”
Like when we are at the dinner table, and one little boy is rolling around on the floor like a laughing hyena and my little girl is flushing the toilet with the bathroom door open, and I ask if anybody has seen the ibuprofen.
Or like when my son throws a pitcher of water on his younger brother, and I try to pretend like it didn't happen.
Like when all the kids plop near me on the fireplace and I just say to them, “Could you guys just not talk for a little while?”
But the irony is that I got the loudest children in the universe. How did this happen?
Is it the pollutants in the air or the red dyes in their candy or the extra hormones in their milk or their steady diet of frenetic television shows? How did I get so many divas? And why did their packaging not include ear plugs?
Why do they not like to play with their puzzles for hours on end like I did? Why must they run in halls and slam their heads into door jams? Why must we spend so much time in the emergency room?
I don't know.
I do know that I love warm fires and good books and a cup of herbal tea. I do know that Bilbo Baggins and I would have really hit it off (before the wizard showed up).
But I also know that life is not about being in our comfort zone all the time.
Life should leave you out of breath, and my kids are really good at doing just that. You should see us dance with abandon to the Village People. You should see me run after them on our three-mile hikes. You should see me chasing their errant shots on the tennis courts.
And they also make me laugh. They jump up and down like crazy when they play charades, they hum when they eat their food and they fall off their chairs regularly.
My kids are giving me lots of opportunities to break up fights, administer first aid and wipe up spills. But they also bring me a life of adventure. I may be reluctant at times to jump in with them, but then what stories would I have to tell?
Becky Blackburn is the mother of five children and is a native of Price, Utah. She graduated from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.