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Katy England Katy England
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The gifts they give

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There's a lot to be said about the isolation of parenting. About how much you give up for your kids and how much they change your lives. There are many, many great articles about it. But this one is more about how they made me a more creative person.

You lose large swathes of free time when you have kids, especially if you have three kids at the same time.

We're a house that enjoys books. My husband and I have always been nerds. When we designed the house we wanted a study filled with books and maps and busts of Green Men (the unicorns are all mine). Due to the destructive nature of very young children, some of our bookshelves had to be removed from common areas. Our bedroom became crowded, and is still crowded to some extent.

And the sleepless nights of the early years made reading and writing difficult at best, impossible at worst. Losing some of the time to read and be creative was a blow. Novels sidelined. Short stories, stopped short.

Until they started giving me stories.

Kids are funny. Kids make connections in the world that sometimes seem silly, or whimsical, or strange. And when the kids started talking and having conversations that didn't always make sense, but always seemed magical, I wrote it down.

One time I was reading 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' to the girls, when my daughter pointed to a picture of the moon, pale and smiling on the page, and said: 'That's you, Mama.'

And dad told me he he was outside with the kids one afternoon as the sun was going down. He told the same girl that the sun was setting, and she said, 'You're going to catch it, Dada.'

So I wrote a story in which I became the moon and my husband chased the sun and pulled it from the sky, to allow me to shine.

All of the kids have buddies that they love dearly, and bedtime isn't the same without them (read: bedtime doesn't happen without them). So I gave them origin stories about how they all met.

When my son asked me about our cat that had gone missing to coyotes or a car or someone who simply liked cats - and we told him he had most likely died, he said, 'That's OK, we can rescue him.'

That prompted the story about the Day Cat and Death, which still makes me cry.

Combine this with the fact that there is a dearth of triplet children's books. Like most parents, I want my kids to feel included. I want them to feel like they have a story beyond the novelty of having come in threes. I wanted them to feel special both together and apart from each other. It is a normal thing to want, but a harder thing to find. So I made them. Not for me, not to make millions, but for them. These are some of the best things I've ever written and it sounds like bragging, but it was hardly even me writing them. I was just the doorway.

They gave that to me. So I will give them back to them.

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