Parent-type folks told me this would happen, but I had to experience it before I could grok it:
Pre-mommyhood, my big priorities were set in being successful professionally, having an active social life, helping as many people as I can (in that “I Wanna Make a Difference” sort of way), and being efficient in my day-to-day, multi-tasking chores and errands.
Now… well now, my big priority is just this: make my little boy happy. It’s put other things — my big plans for my job, my professional ambitions; making a big splash in reforming education; getting my dissertation published; going out to see the latest movies, funky stores, museum showings, coffee shops, et al. — very much DOWN DOWN DOWN on that ol’ priority list of mine.
My priorities these days are take care of Daniel (outside daycare and at-home caregiving), work at my dayjob, maintain the household. Rinse, lather, repeat.
In the big scheme of things, I’m not that important — not in my field, not in my job, not in my neighborhood/city/country/planet. But to my little boy — who will be two months old come Thanksgiving — I’m his whole world.
That’s a big responsibility and, not unrelated, a gift that can’t be taken for granted.
I now know what real unconditional love feels like.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.