The moments we do treasure : Eating toast, pot bellies and watching the rain.
There are a number of things not to say to a parent who has had a really long, exhausting, bad day with their child / children:
You don’t know how lucky you are, things were worse in my day! I lived through the war. You don’t know you’re born love! You were a little shit too darling, you didn’t sleep for the first five years. Don’t you know there are people in worse situations than you? and the best one “you should treasure every moment.”
When it’s only 3.45am and I’ve already had human faeces between my fingers twice, I was woken up by the three year old dropping his hands onto my face (a double slap), there’s yogurt in my bra, the three year old has had three tantrums already because he “needs a hair cut”, the baby has figured out how to open the stair gates and I know I have another fifteen hours playing what’s that smell? what’s that stain? and what’s the point? – I can’t stop and treasure anything – apart from coffee.
However – we do treasure certain moments. Don’t get me wrong. There are small pockets of appreciation throughout each day. Ok, some days there are none – I just lied there. But generally there will be say three or four tiny inconsequential bits of ‘treasure’. They’re so small and not what you might think they’d be – I don’t even know if they’ll translate.
You’re unlikely to report this appreciation on social media – because you’re too busy treasuring the moment.
One example is when I saw my son (then a toddler) eating toast. I was scurrying around cleaning and tidying and rushing – as you do. I turned to look at him to check he was still alive, as you do. He was stood in front of the television eating a slice of toast – it was a large triangle. The toast was larger than his head. He had that posture young children have where their bottoms are stuck out and their stomachs, their little portly stomachs jut out too. (Much like my own posture).
I was overwhelmed with the beauty of him in that moment. I sat down and shed a tear.
These moments are usually followed by a huge hug and kiss and a soppy “you know I love you so much don’t you darling, mummy loves you so so much. You’re my favourite….sshhhh.”
Then there was a moment the other day when I was rushing about cleaning and tidying (I seem to spend a lot of time doing this) and I happened upon my eldest son having a conversation about the weather outside. Well, it was a one way conversation as the youngest is nine months. “Look,” he was saying “it’s waining, outside, it’s dark and it’s cold outside, isn’t it?” he said in his Elmo voice, his little brother staring at the rain and then up at his hero listening intently.
I cried again.
I treasured that moment, I truly did.
Sometimes the moments you treasure are when they’re not there. Sometimes I spend the time (I should be doing laundry and washing up) stacking their bricks, arranging their toys, setting up their farm and dinosaurs feeling an ache in my heart so tangible it makes me do a little squeak and I miss them to death.
Sometimes it’s when they use a phrase that they’ve obviously got from you – such as “ok, ok, that’s quite enough… calm down”.
Sometimes it’s when they call you ‘mummy’ in public and you burst with pride.
Last week an elderly couple came over to my table in a restaurant to compliment me on how good my three year old was behaving. I will treasure that moment for a while. Little did they know he was behaving so well because I’d just purchased him a train that cost £8.50.
I also treasure how lucky I am nearly every day when I see a story on the news or on This Morning about parents who have lost children or people who are unable to be parents. It’s then that I hug my children a little tighter.
So we do treasure moments. We also have bad times we would rather forget. Even lottery winners complain… it doesn’t mean they want to give their money away.