I've always appreciated my parents and loved them. They are great parents to me and have always taken good care of me and loved me a lot growing up.
Then I got married and had kids of my own, and I appreciate my parents on a whole new level. I never realized just quite all the sacrifice and worry and love they willingly pour over me and my siblings.
I read an ARTICLE that points out some of the things I didn't realize until I became a parent. Here are the 10 points it brings up:
"1. You made her cry... a lot. She cried when she
found out she was pregnant. She cried as she gave birth to you. She
cried when she first held you. She cried with happiness. She cried with
fear. She cried with worry. She cried because she feels so deeply for
you. She felt your pain and your happiness and she shared it with you,
whether you realized it or not.
2. She wanted that last piece of pie.
But when she saw you look at it with those big eyes and lick your mouth
with that tiny tongue, she couldn't eat it. She knew it would make her
much happier to see your little tummy be filled than hers.
3. It hurt.
When you pulled her hair, it hurt; when you grabbed her with those
sharp fingernails that were impossible to cut, it hurt; when you bit her
while drinking milk, that hurt, too. You bruised her ribs when you
kicked her from her belly; you stretched her stomach out for nine
months; you made her body contract in agonizing pain as you entered this
4. She was always afraid. From the
moment you were conceived, she did all in her power to protect you. She
became your mama bear. She was that lady who wanted to say no when the
little girl next door asked to hold you, and who cringed when she did,
because in her mind no one could keep you as safe as she herself could.
Her heart skipped two beats with your first steps. She stayed up late to
make sure you got home safe, and woke up early to see you off to
school. With every stubbed toe and little stumble, she was close by; she
was ready to snatch you up with every bad dream or late night fever.
She was there to make sure you were OK.
5. She knows she's not perfect.
She is her own worst critic. She knows all her flaws and sometimes
hates herself for them. She is hardest on herself when it comes to you,
though. She wanted to be the perfect mom, to do nothing wrong -- but
because she is human, she made mistakes. She is probably still trying to
forgive herself for them. She wishes with her whole heart that she
could go back in time and do things differently, but she can't, so be
kind to her, and know she did the best she knew how to do.
6. She watched you as you slept.
There were nights when she was up 'til 3:00 a.m. praying that you would
finally fall asleep. She could hardly keep her eyes open as she sang to
you, and she would beg you to "please, please fall asleep." Then, when
you finally fell asleep, she would lay you down and all her tiredness
would disappear for a short second as she sat by your bedside looking
down at your perfect cherub face, experiencing more love than she knew
was possible, despite her worn-out arms and aching eyes.
7. She carried you a lot longer than nine months.
You needed her to. So she did. She would learn to hold you while she
cleaned; she would learn to hold you while she ate; she would even hold
you while she slept, because it was the only way she could sometimes.
Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still
because you wanted to be close to her. She snuggled you, loved you,
kissed you and played with you. You felt safe in her arms; you were
happy in her arms; you knew you were loved in her arms, so she held you,
as often and as long as you needed.
8. It broke her heart every time you cried.
There was no sound as sad as your cries, or sight as horrible as the
tears streaming down your perfect face. She did all in her power to stop
you from crying, and when she couldn't stop your tears, her heart would
shatter into a million little pieces.
9. She put you first. She
went without food, without showers and without sleep. She always put
your needs before her own. She would spend all day meeting your needs,
and by the end of the day, she would have no energy left for herself.
But the next day, she would wake up and do it all over again, because
you meant that much to her.
10. She would do it all again. Being
a mom is one of the hardest jobs anyone can do, and it will take you to
your very limits sometimes. You cry, you hurt, you try, you fail, you
work and you learn. But, you also experience more joy that you thought
was possible and feel more love than your heart can contain. Despite all
the pain, grief, late nights and early mornings you put your mom
through, she would do it all again for you because you are worth it to
her. So, next time you see her, tell your mom thank you; let her know
that you love her. She can never hear it too many times."
I think this applies to dads too. A lot of times dads are left out because they are gone from the home working to provide for the family more often than moms. I know my husband feels every bit as much a father as I do a mother to our children, and they love him every bit as much.
Parenting doesn't end when the kids leave the house, it's a lifetime labor of love.