'I'm sorry ma ' my 38 year old son blurted during a video chat.
'What for honey?' I was confused. We were just giggling over the latest exciting milestone of his adorable 15 month old — my first grandchild.
'For all the sleepless nights I caused you. And the worry! And figuring out everything I need... he said rubbing his eyes through a yawn. 'Now I get it! But what I don’t get is how you did this four times!’
Ahhh music to my ears. I’m sure I used the old line ’just wait till you have your own kids', once or twice, but did I hold my breath? Nope. And yet, it was one of the best moments EVER!
I loved raising my children. Yes it felt like a thankless job, but it wasn't really. Seeing them happy and thriving was thanks enough, until now. I didn’t realize how big a deal it was, how much I appreciated being appreciated!
As a relationship coach, the lack of appreciation or an inability to express appreciation is a major source of conflict in couples. Respect, appreciation, trust, honesty are among the essential life skills we learn in childhood from our primary role models’ actions. Sometimes parents take the shortcut approach ‘do as I say, not as I do'. It never works.
So when my son ‘apologizes’ with newfound appreciation, my heart is full. And when my daughter— also a new mother, chuckles as she catches herself behaving in the same irritating way as me —flicking hair off her baby's face, I am beyond thrilled. She 'gets' it too!
Being appreciated is one thing, being told that you are appreciated is another. Direct and honest conversation about emotions are vital to healthy relationships. Sometimes a simple thank you can make a huge difference. Look inward and reflect on these two questions: Do you feel appreciated? Do you express your appreciation enough?
Joking aside, watching these young new parents show humility, integrity and appreciation tells me they'll be great role models. Nothing is more important to a child's healthy development.