With my first child who was born of me I took so much for granted. Things that I hadn’t had to work so hard for, things that just happened as I loved him since the day he was born. But this time round, with my adopted children, these things are taking longer to come, and I’m realising quite how special they are. I don’t ever want to take them for granted, because they make me enjoy parenting more – they allow me to experience more joy because I’m noticing the little things more.
I’m not writing this list to make you feel sorry for me that it’s taken a while to get to this point, but because I want to urge you too if you’re a parent to take a moment to realise quite how much of a privilege it is to get to love a child and to watch them develop.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter smiles at you when you get her out of the cot in the morning – It means she’s happy you’re her mummy.
Don’t take it for granted when your son comes to you in tears because he’s fallen and hurt himself – It means he knows you’ll take care of him.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter lets you know she’s cross with you – It means she knows she’s safe to express something negative without you rejecting her.
Don’t take it for granted when your son wants to play with his big brother – It means he’s accepted him.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter starts to babble – it means her brain is relaxed enough to do it’s job.
Don’t take it for granted when your son is happy to eat in his high chair – It means he’s relaxed enough for you to be in control.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter greets someone who comes through the door – it means she trusts you when you bring someone new into the home.
Don’t take it for granted when you can make your son laugh – it means he likes you.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter gives you a squeeze – it means she likes having you around.
Don’t take it for granted when your son is happy to come back home after a trip – it means he likes living there.
Don’t take it for granted when your daughter runs to her daddy when he gets home – it means she’s not confused about why he’s sometimes here and sometimes not.
Don’t take it for granted when your son chats to himself in the morning – it means he’s not frightened of where he is.
Don’t take it for granted when your kids look at you with that look that makes you feel like you’re the best person in the world – it means you’re their parent, it means they’re your child.
I’m told by my friends with older kids that these memories fade, as our kids grow and change and our relationships adapt, we might hark back to these days as the good old days. As the time when they looked to us for everything, when we were their heroes. It’s hard to imagine that sometimes when we’re having rough days, when we’re desperate for things to get easier. But I am determined to treasure these moments, so I will name and be thankful for each of these times when I know I’m winning – when I know I’m being the kind of mummy my kids want and need.