“I Like My Kids”

Last night, after the end of a day that was exhausting for no particular reason, it stormed. Badly. Loudly. It woke Kara and was close enough to keep her from relaxing long enough to fall back to sleep. So we brought her into our bed, which is something we very rarely do. She fell asleep snuggled next to me, clutching my arm with both hands and squeezing whenever she saw lightning until the thunder that accompanied it passed. She so rarely accepts comfort that it was an inexplicably sweet experience to help her keep calm and sleep during the storm. It brought to mind a conversation a few moms had a while ago.

A few months ago, I was at a MOMS Club meeting. One of the moms had 2 boys and was pregnant with her third child. She stayed home with her boys; neither of them was in preschool or daycare. She said many people had asked if she was planning on putting her boys in preschool. When she replied that she wasn’t planning on it, most people said she’d feel differently when the baby came. And this wonderful young mother just shrugged and said, “I like my kids.”

It’s a simple thing, but it’s stayed with me. All parents love their kids, of course, but for some of us—or me, at least—it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that I also like my kid. I like how she plays pretend and helps me when I’m working and how she squishes her blueberries with her apples in her fruit salad and then eats them together. I like how she adds a syllable when she makes her words plural (nest-es instead of nests) and how when she makes her stuffed animals talk, she’ll add, “said Bunny” (or whoever is speaking) to the end of the sentence.

In light of another marriage of two people close to me that’s come to an end, I’ve been reading some tips for spousal relationships, and it’s occurred to me that many of them can also be applied to relationships with your kids. We just spend so much time together it’s easy to get fed up and lose sight of the things I love about my little girl and focus on all the things that irritate me, so I’m going to make an “I like” list to remind me of all the things I like about her. And on those days when it seems like we can’t get anything right together, I’m going to revisit that list.

What do you do to remind yourself how much you like your littles?

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