My teen went away on a camp overseas this past school holidays. They grow up, and start — you know — being all independent and doing things! I missed her! The day after she got back home again, she greeted me in the morning as we readied to go out.
“Mum, you look lovely! You often wear different things, and I like seeing what you wear. I didn’t realise that I enjoyed that until just now, because I missed it.”
Her comment surprised me! Delighted me! Not because my daughter complimented me, but because it was a lovely reflection of — I’m trying to think of the words — of relationship. Being on the end of that comment felt like the happiness you find in each other, look for in each other, honour in each other: the best version of what family can be.
That’s the thing: you have a baby, then a toddler, and you *really* don’t know what you’re doing. You worry about feeding, and potty training, and milestones. Time out or no time out? Good days. Bad days. Happy moments. Cranky days. So-so weary. How do you get any sleep?
And yet, looking back, all that stuff doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s all about relationship. Love them. Love-love-love them. Keep loving them through the trying times. Keep loving them when you just don’t know what to do. Love them through the happiness and joys. Hold them to the highest, for all the good your mother-heart can see in them. Find out who they are. Love them for who they are. Help them to understand themselves, so they can see all the beauty they hold. Love them fierce, and love them enduringly. And during those times when you feel discouraged and are stuffing things up, know that you feel that way because you care so much.
Every now and again, the years, all the things, will condense into one moment, reflecting one important thing: the action of unconditional love over the long term. It breeds relationship.
That little comment from my daughter will go into a special little treasure chest I keep somewhere inside myself. You know, those small things, the moments you particularly remember, little as they are? It’s the reward.
Originally posted on the Be A Fun Mum Facebook page and you can see the relevant discussion here.