Here’s a new twist on The Twelve Days of Christmas, not gifts for the 12 days of Christmas, but 12 gifts that parents receive from their children through the trials and tribulations of parenting all year long. This season, instead of being overwhelmed with long to-do lists and the stress of buying too many presents, let’s imagine a season celebrating all that children add to our lives. And the best gift of all – a love as true as true can be!
On the 12th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…12 months of growing.
Just look at all the things your child has learned this past year. Sure, there’ve been ups and downs, maybe a few regressions and a load of uncertainty but your child has mastered new skills, grown in understanding and accomplished thousands of successes. So, next time you are exhausted from everything you teach in a day, take comfort in all your child learns over the course of a year.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…11 friends with birthdays
You probably spent a small fortune and precious time attending countless birthday parties this past year. As your child discovered the joys and challenges of childhood friendships, you found a few incredible parents who share your view on parenting (and a few others who do not). You became much clearer about what kind of parent you want to be. The observations and choices you make are powerful tools to define your uniquely spectacular family.
On the 10th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…10 sticky fingers
Remember that neat and organized life you used to have? Now, there are fingerprints on every wall and window, and the sticky evidence of every meal and art project your child touched. You can get angry and no one would blame you. You can also try to capture the urgency of your child’s life as she rushes to the next great thing…forgetting to wash hands or to put away toys. Life is messy.
On the 9th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…9 ear infections
Doctor bills and sick days are strrrressful! All that love and attention slowed you down to be exactly where you needed to be. Those hugs you gave fortified you too in a tough world. Your home became a healing place for a sick child but also for world weary parents.
On the 8th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…8 early mornings
Awake at 5:00am again? It’s amazing how much you can accomplish even though you’re sleep deprived and delirious. The rest of the world bows to your endurance. Please try to sleep in at least one day this week.
On the 7th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…7 potty crises
You’ve been up to your ears in diapers for years only to be rewarded with unexpected poop and pee catastrophes - diaper blow-outs on airplane runways, puddles in Target aisle 6. You have acquired a fearless resourcefulness when everyone else succumbs to social taboos and polite conventions.
On the 6th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…6 belly laughs
No matter what else happened in a day, a week, a month, your child made your laugh - side-splitting, soda-out-the-nose, did-you-see-what-he-did laughter! Kids make life fun. As each year passes and your little one grows so quickly, you want to savor the silly, the immature and the playful moments even more.
On the 5th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…a full nights’ sleep
A full nights’ sleep is the crown jewel of parenthood. You are blessed with each and every one.
On the 4th day of Christmas, my child gave to me…4 bumps-n-bruises
Some parents can’t even count the scrapes and cuts let alone the stitches and broken bones. Children fall down a million times and get back up again to try again. Bodies heal, as do hearts. Hopefully, every minor accident made you stronger too. And you know more deeply than before the resilience of body and mind.
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my child gave to me…3 screaming nights
Dream piercing night terrors and nightmares shake quiet cozy homes into a twilight zone where panic replaces all reason. You lived through the helplessness of holding a fearful child. You watched morning return to blow the monsters back to their hiding places. You are the calm and the peace in a child’s uncertain world.
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my child gave to me…2 hugs-n-kisses
The hugs and kisses are infinite, always in multiples of one more. They are hugs of thanks and for no-reason-at-all. They are kisses that forestall bedtime and ones that hold you through a long day at work. They are free. They are all yours.
On the 1st day of Christmas, my child gave to me…a love as true as true can be
Being a parent definitely isn’t easy but it’s a love unlike any other. Only a parent knows exactly what it feels like to love a child and to be loved by a child. This was a year filled with joy and maybe a little heartache. You were teacher, nurse, super-hero and most of all a parent. In return, you receive the best gift of all – your child’s love.