It is one of those days following one of those nights. The kind of night that finds me wanting to crawl into bed at 7 and find a sense of peace in a book or in sleep. Such nights don't happen often, but when they do, I am left trying to sort through the gray and the mist to find the cloud with the silver lining. It is there; it is sometimes more difficult to find than others, but it is there all the same.
One of the challenges I continue to face as a woman and as a parent is appreciation and the lack of recognition.
Yes, I know, parenting is a thankless job, I have heard the statement time and time again. To be frank, I don't believe it nor do I find comfort in the words. Parenting is far from thankless in my opinion. It is simply that one has to find the recognition and the appreciation and the "thanks" in different places and forms - and often it is from within one's self rather than from an external source.
It is looking for it from an external source that trips me up from time to time. It is seeking and wanting and desiring someone to say "Thanks." It is wanting to hear "I appreciate all you are doing" directly and indirectly, in those words and in other words, from someone that does not live in my house. I want my effort to be recognized.
Now, I am not talking about loads of flowers or expensive tokens of appreciation. I don't want to see "Thanks" in bright lights on Time Square or written in vapor against a vivid blue background on a sunny day for the world to see. I am not even talking about my son making the scoring touchdown at the Super bowl and then saying "hi Mom!" (Though I think that is awesome, always wonder why they don't say dad, and don't have a son anyway...) I am talking about the little gestures that say "great job."
Recognition is something that we each probably desire from time to time. Professionally, employees often state that recognition or a demonstration of appreciation from management increases job satisfaction. We might seek recognition or appreciation for our physical person "you look great" can make a day especially when we aren't feeling very confident. perhaps we seek recognition for the person that we are - our thoughts, interests, and our contributions to society. Or simply for someone to acknowledge us for who we are over what we have or what we do.
So many reasons to recognize, to appreciate, to acknowledge.
Despite how few and far between those nights like last night are, they do happen. I curl up somewhere deep within my soul and attempt to remember that it is alright, for the moment, to feel sad and to want that external recognition, that appreciation and respect for all that I give and all that I do and all that I am. Tears don't fall, the Diva rubs my back and sings (The Diva isn't the Diva without a song involved!), and comforts.
For the moment, I can live in that world and then I have to start finding the cloud with the silver lining. I have to look for the recognition and the appreciation from within me. I have to appreciate the job I am doing, the little things I have done, the path I have chosen, and acknowledge myself.
parenting is not a thankless job. It is a job that is filled with little thank you's and notes of recognition and appreciation. There are rough patches, there are bright days, and through it all, there is lots of love. I don't need someone from the outside to tell me what a great job I am doing - I can look at my daughter, see the compassionate loving life kid she is and I can see living proof that I am doing okay. Moreover, I feel my heart swell and the smile spread across my face and realize that the choices, the time given... it is all worth it to share this life; to share these moments.