My son gave me a beautiful gift the other morning.
It wasn’t a macaroni necklace or a Cheerio birdfeeder (though those are always appreciated).
No, instead, it was a glimpse into his world and the way he has absorbed the love we’ve given him over the past (almost) 3 years.
As parents, we wonder what lessons our children are learning from us. We know we are far from perfect, but we try so hard to do our best and build kids who are strong, happy, and whole.
We respond to their needs on a second-by-second basis.
If there were a parenting playbook, it would have torn pages, scribbles, and a whole lot of question marks.
In other words, it usually feels like a blind endeavor no matter how much you’ve read or how thoroughly you’ve prepared.
But, sometimes you’re fortunate enough to get a glimpse of what’s good–to see exactly what you’ve done right.
That was the gift my son gave me.
He shared that gift with me in the way he quickly rushed to my side when I bumped my arm in the kitchen. He ran over, took me by the hand, and urged me to sit down so he could inspect my “injury.”
I knew he learned that from my husband and I, and the way we rush to show concern and love when he’s hurt himself.
He shared that gift with me again later when he assigned a name to an emotion he was feeling, saying that he felt “frustrated” when he couldn’t carry all of his toys at once.
I knew again that this was something he learned from us–the way we try to assign a name to a feeling and how we encourage him to share it with us and ask for help when he needs it.
He then shared that gift with me again when he said he wanted to help me with my socks and shoes before we left the house–something we’ve done so many times for him.
But, since we also strive to instill independence and have been letting him put on his own socks and shoes (no matter how long it takes sometimes), he stopped midway so I could takeover.
He gave an enthusiastic “good job” when I pulled my sock over my heel, echoing a sentiment he’s heard countless times from us. Then, he held the loop on my boot and coached me to “push” my foot down–something we’ve done constantly this winter.
It was wonderful to see all these moments play out in a single morning.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen images of the love and concern we’ve given him reflected back to us, but it was the most recent, and it is always appreciated.
They are reminders that our love matters and our moments matter, and that you don’t have to be a perfect parent to see your love and influence perfectly reflected back at you.
These gifts may be small, but they are mine, and though they cannot be worn around my neck or hung on the fridge, they are tangible, and they are real.
But, like I said. I also appreciate a nice Cheerio birdfeeder when it comes my way, too.