Be grateful, kids, for unconditional love. Without it you guys would be sunk.
It’s what gets us through childbirth, even though we haven’t met you yet.
It’s what gets us through that first meconium poo. (The first real test of parenthood. It’s a strong person who doesn’t instinctively gag.) it also gets us through all the subsequent poos, including the most violently explosive, just-put-the-clothes-in-the-bin-and-open-all-the-windows ones. And the vomit. And blood.
It’s what allows you to use our bodies until we break. From cracked, bleeding nipples from feeding you as an infant to back pain and arm ache from carrying you as a toddler. Its what drags us through the tunnel of sleep deprivation. It’s what motivates us to run aside you as our lungs burst as you learn to ride a bike. It’s what gets our knees through another search under the sofa to find your missing dummy/school shoe/favourite toy/escaped hamster.
It’s what sees us fight the forces of chaos and gravity as we pick everything up from baby toys to pieces of Lego and Loomz bands to plates and towels and mouldy bowls of cereal. (Why do kids only learn how to pick stuff up twenty years after they learnt how to drop things all over the place?)
It’s what gets us through the toddler tantrums. The screaming, the flailing limbs, the kicking and punching. The public judgement.
It’s what causes us to shrug as any savings disappear in favour of a trip to Disneyland. Because the window for saving is bigger than the window for fairytale magic.
It’s what allows us to endure yet another trip to the park/playground/soft play area, the umpteenth viewing of your favourite DVD/reading of your favourite book (the one with the flakiest of plots and God-awful writing, but which fires your imagination like nothing else).
It’s what sees us freezing on the sidelines of a football field or slowly go numb from the waist down during interminable dance recitals.
It’s what forces us to remember the lessons we learnt in school when confronted with homework-induced tears. It turns out there is a reason to learn trigonometry at school: to then cause major upset and stropping as we try to pass our knowledge onto you. It would be easier to teach compassion to the Devil.
It’s what gets us through a meeting with your key worker/school teacher/head teacher without lashing out or breaking down.
It’s what motivates us to keep restocking the cupboards and the fridge, even though we know we may as well just feed a plague of locusts.
It’s what sees us in a school car park before the crack of dawn, waiting to collect you from a school trip.
It’s what makes us answer the phone at 3am to rescue you from whatever mess you’re in. It turns out that 3am is no more fun than when you were a non-sleeping baby.
It’s what gets us to drive you and your wordly belongings around the country until you choose where you want to settle. And pay for a goodbye meal for the privilege.
Yep, be grateful, kids – it’s powerful stuff. Because although you light up our lives with your smiles and enthusiasms, your warm hugs and hearty laughs, there are also plenty of times when we don’t actually like you much. It might last minutes (the duration of a tantrum or session of whining) or years (you’re meant to push as away as teenagers, right?). But luckily for you, underlying everything is that unconditional love. Ok, it’s what drives us as parents to brag about your achievements and post photos of you everywhere (also known as mum-you’re-killing-me embarrassment) but it also means we didn’t abandon you in a supermarket at the age of two.