As we take the time on Remembrance Day today to remember those who served in the wars, it’s also a good time to appreciate the little things in life that we sometimes take for granted.
With this in mind, let’s count down some of the things we can be thankful for as parents, especially on those extra hard days. If the experience of war reminds us of one thing, it’s that life can be fleeting and we should appreciate and treasure every moment we have with our families and loved ones.
The endless cuddles, kisses and hugs
Nothing beats a late night cuddle, an “I love you Mummy” and a kiss goodnight. Nothing.
There are plenty of “firsts” during that first year – first smile, first crawl, first word, but the firsts don’t end. Parenting is all about experiencing “firsts”. The first bike ride without training wheels. The first day at school. The first time he writes his name. The first time she scores a goal. The first time your child gets their heart broken. And there are countless more to look forward to.
Help from those around you
For me, it’s my friends who I pretty much rely on every single day to help out in some form or another, whether it’s collecting my son from school when I’m running late or arriving at the drop of a hat when I am sick with the flu and need a spare hand.
We all have those special people in our lives, from parents to siblings, from babysitters to partners that make this parenting journey so much more pleasant.
We wish every single parent could have healthy children all of the time, but we know this isn’t the case. If your child is one of the fortunate ones, then please, be thankful for this each and every day.
The ability to experience childhood again
One thing I love about being a parent is that I can act like a kid again. I can run through the sprinkler, go off rope swings, dance around the kitchen with my toddler and let that little child that clearly still lives inside come out and play.
And childhood the second time around, when you have someone looking up to you and laughing by your side, is so much more rewarding.
Think you felt embarrassed that one time you wore your shirt inside out to work? Now, a shirt that is inside out hardly gets a shrug from me. Mind you, neither does a shirt stained with breast milk or vomit, a toddler tantruming in the middle of the store. These are not the important things in life. No one will remember or care. Parenting teaches us to look beyond to what really matters.
The constant training in persistence
And patience. And tolerance. And acceptance. Because we all know how frustrating it can be to dress your child in the morning only to be told that she is not wearing that outfit and watch as she flicks her entire wardrobe on the floor before settling on something completely unsuitable for the occasion.
Every day our children teach us something. Some days the lessons may be heavier than others but with our kids around, we are constantly learning (or re-learning).
And, finally, the ability to understand what unconditional love really feels like
Love is a tricky emotion to conquer. But the unconditional love we feel for our children is something entirely different and powerful. It is indescribable, unwavering and it’s one of the most rewarding emotions in the world.
Not only the unconditional love you feel for your child, but that love they feel for you too, even if you wake up looking like death, they still look at you like you are their world. Which you are. And perhaps this is the most important thing to remember today, and every single day of your parenting journey.