There’s no doubt about it: being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Conversely, it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. When you’re a parent, you’re basically a superhero (even if your cape is actually just your kid draping himself around your neck). So, what are the rewards for all of the extraordinary feats that parents accomplish?
They’re simple and beautiful: they’re the small joys every parent knows well.
When You See Glimpses of Your Parents in Your Kids
It’s easy to see all the ways that your kids look just like you and your spouse. From the moment they’re born, you begin to marvel at the way they have your husband’s nose or your own eyes.
But one of the most wonderful small joys in life comes when you see glimpses of your parents in your kids. It’s not just in the way they look, the way their smile reminds you of your father, or the way their curls fall just like your mother’s. It’s in the way they exhibit the same kindness of spirit that your parents showed you when you were little. It’s in the way that they’re thoughtful and patient just like their grandmother.
There are thousands of glimpses like this over a lifetime. Don’t miss out on them. Pay attention to all of the little things about your kids, and you’ll be rewarded by the incredible continuing nature and beauty of humanity.
When Your Kids Seem to Know You Better Than You Know Yourself
Kids are some of the most observant people you’ll ever encounter. They’re always listening, always looking, always taking the world in. Bit by bit, they begin to paint a vivid picture for themselves of who you are as a parent to them. The picture is fuzzy at first, but in time, it becomes as clear as day.
You’ll know that they have you figured out in the most jaw-dropping ways. One day, you’ll slip up and forget what you were saying or doing—and your kids will step in and fill in the blanks for you. Take that small joy for what it is: a tiny miracle.
Your kids are always looking up to you, and in those moments, they’re truly looking out for you.
When You Realize that Your Kids Don’t Need Help Doing [Insert Here]
This realization is a mixed blessing. If we all could, we’d keep our kids young, free, and safe forever. But, sadly, that’s not how time—or life—works. Time marches on, and life opens all kids up to less-than-pleasant possibilities.
If you’ve done your job as a parent well, though, this won’t matter quite so much. Your kids will be prepared to face any of the challenges life throws at them. That’s why it’s so important to recognize all of the moments when your kids don’t need help doing [insert task here, whatever that task may be: cutting their meat, riding a bike, writing a letter, getting a job; the list goes on].
That list doesn’t go on forever, unfortunately. There will come a day when you witness the last small joy of parenthood: when your kids become parents themselves. Luckily, all that means is that you get to start reliving those joys as a grandparent.
That’s the beauty of life: the small joys are endless.