Apparently, Tuesday 1st June was Global Parents Day. I missed it!! But don’t worry, if you’re in the UK or USA, you get another Parents Day on 25th July!! And of course there was Mothering Sunday in the Spring, and Fathers’ Day just the other weekend…
Supposedly, multiple opportunities to celebrate ourselves as parents – but could any of us seriously take the day off being a parent in order to celebrate?!
Every day, I love navigating the ravaging rapids of parenthood. I am overwhelmed, simultaneously, by exhaustion, love, frustration and gratefulness. Being driven mad by our children, whilst loving them more than we can put into words, is all part and parcel of the deal.
All the parents I know deserve to be celebrated for what they do. Not least because their children are completely unqualified to realise what a brilliant job their parents are doing for them… or to thank them for it!
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Parenting is by nature sacrifice. Any parent who thought they would get back in gratefulness what they invested in effort, would be sorely disappointed.
We do it because we love it.
(Or at least, because we thought we’d love it, when we decided to do it…!)
If you’re like me, even on the worst days, you can still be sideswiped by the rush of love and tenderness that comes from your heart when you least expect it – when you’re looking in the eyes of a cheeky terror, a feeding baby, a grunting but vulnerable teenager, or just the person who has driven you crazy all day and is now – blissfully – asleep.
Many people, like me, longed to be a parent for a long time before it happened. Others go on longing without being fulfilled. And the privilege of love always carries with it the possibility of loss. I can immediately think of two Mothers I know, who have been widowed this year with primary-school children. A set of parents who have lost a teenage son to cancer. Older parents who are part-caring for grown-up children at home, whether because of special needs, mental health issues or tragic circumstances. All busy loving and caring, whilst carrying loads, and mourning what they do not have.
Even for the luckiest among us, parenting is never an easy path. Yet it is one of the greatest privileges life can bring. To witness a life being formed before your very eyes. To see a full, real person taking shape under your guidance. Extraordinary. Whatever the ups and downs, I don’t think any of us forget that, even for a day. Just being a parent is itself a celebration. That’s why I reckon every day is Parents’ Day.