Parenting is, without a doubt, one of the toughest things we can do in this life. Yet, if you ask any parent, they will tell you that there are those amazingly beautiful moments when you feel a rush of love, your heart swells with pride and you realize that it's all worth it.
1. The Words "I Love You"
Is there anything sweeter than those magical three words being uttered from your child's lips, totally unprompted, and said with such true feeling of expression? You know the love is felt, but when it is spoken, whether from your toddler or grown-up kid, there is nothing that can melt your heart faster.
2. All the Firsts
Those milestones, from baby to teen and beyond, are the stuff magic is made of. From first smiles, steps and words, to a first nativity or recital, as you wave him off on his first school trip, or the moment you let go of his bike and he pedals like the wind and makes it - these are the true heartwarming moments that are worth their weight in gold any day of the week.
3. When They Make Good Decisions
There is nothing more poignant than learning that our kids have assessed their options, and have decided to do the right thing, all without being told. That moment when you hear that they have decided not to side with the class bully, or rallied against peer pressure to steal, leaves our hearts ablaze as we finally know that all those hours we spent coaching them to do the right thing really did pay off.
4. Watching Them Laugh and Play
Seeing your child laugh and play with unadulterated abandon and delight is nothing short of beautiful. Immersed in a moment of joy, their happiness is infectious as you watch them soaring through the park like a kite with their friends, or splashing in the sea with their siblings as you assume the role of a fly on the wall and peek into the window of their spirit. Absolutely priceless.
5. When They Truly "Get It"
That lightbulb moment when your child understands something you've been trying to teach them is just so beautiful to be part of as you witness that spark in their eyes which tells you that yup, they've finally got it. Whether it's learning to tell the time, nailing their math facts, figuring out how to wear their new contacts or how to start the car, if you could bottle that look, keep it and sell it, you'd be millionaire.
6. Watching Them Sleep
There is nothing more arresting and all-consuming than the wonder of watching your child asleep, perfectly still and at peace, with a face of an angel looking like absolute beautiful perfection. This incredible opportunity to marvel at the being you created without them knowing is enough to take your breath away every single time.
7. Seeing Them Succeed
From making the team, to making good grades, or passing their piano exam, you share entirely in the joy of these triumphant moments as they race to tell you, with giddying delight, about their success. It is at times like these that your heart swells as if it was going to burst with pride, then does a little fist pump, making you know that all the hard work was worth it.
8. Watching Them Take Initiative
Whether it's offering to wash neighborhood cars or raising a little spending money, or deciding to start offering their services as a babysitter, there's nothing like the proud moment when your child takes the responsibility and initiative to do something all by themselves, from concept to fruition. You can't help but feel at times like these that that's a job done well.
9. When You Witness Sibling Love
They may bicker like an old married couple, but it is the ultimate parenting feel good factor when you see the flip side and they show you that they really DO care for each other. When you see them learning from each other, counting on each other, and the warmth, kindness and caring that grows up from the same root, you know that you planted those seeds well.
10. When They Confide in You
When your child trusts you enough to tell you something you thought they would never dream of doing, and you know you've done right by them after all? Yes, that. When they whisper tentatively in your ear what they have come to think about a friend, or how they feel inside about their crush, or share a situation they have been involved in which didn't make them proud, you know you've earned their trust and that feels nothing short of amazing.
11. Seeing Them Be Selfless
Right from day one, you've worked to instill values of kindness and the notion of helping others who need it. And then right there, in front of your eyes, they unfold their kindness and compassion in an act of total selflessness. Whether they step out to help an old lady cross the street, or rescue an animal in distress, it is these acts of altruism your child pulls out of the bag which really move you down to your core.
12. A Family Meal Filled With Laughter
We all know that mealtimes with kids can be stressful, but on those times when they flourish into precious moments of family togetherness, warmth, laughter and joy over food, all you need to do is take a look around the dinner table to agree quietly with yourself that yes, it was all worth it, and these are the moments you'll cherish and remember.
13. Coming Home to Screams of Delight
It's been a long day, your boss has dumped on you from the minute you got to work, you've been stuck in traffic, and you feel gloomier than Eeyore. That is until you open the door and are met with screams of delight. That feeling, right there, is second to none.
14. When They Show Courage
There is something incomparable when you watch your children become more courageous and do something brave. Your heart does a happy dance when they overcome their fear of the dark, or when they finally have the fearlessness to take their skateboard out, or the confidence to overcome their shyness when meeting new people. Watching them grow as people in this way is priceless.
15. Sharing Downtime
While it's true, much of parenthood is spent doing thing for our kids, there are plenty of treasured moments when you really get to hang out together and share the things you love on equal terms. Whether it's a family trip to the movies, an afternoon baking session, a girl's shopping trip or a leisurely bike ride on a beautiful day, these are the times you truly get to enjoy and savor each other's companionship.
The challenges of being a parent may be big, the sacrifices we may make as parents may be great, but the payback in these incredible moments are huge.