Gratitude – key to connecting with meaning

Gratitude-PerspectivesI think we all know the saying to “stop and smell the roses” and few will be able to argue with the validity of the saying. I also think that few of us actually take the time to do just that. In today’s world of Facebook notifications, Twitter’s tweets, push email and 24/7 television we are constantly going forward at the speed of light. With a media ADHD we rarely afford ourselves the chance to look back, to stop and contemplate or ultimately to be grateful. I am as much a victim as any other half tech-head. But tonight I had a glimpse.

We came home yesterday from having my daughter and her mother spend four days in a paediatric ward in hospital to treat a bacterial infection. I had moments of absolute fear and panic, anger and upset. All the while my baby was taking the injections, the poking and the prodding in her stride. She is now back on the mend and a day after coming home I got to consider the ordeal. Probably something pretty normal and nothing massive in the grand scheme of things but for us, it was the world tearing apart.
Tonight just after administering a couple of oral medications and handing my daughter to mom for a feed I stopped to reflect. In thinking back I was hit by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I now, finally, am starting to realise what my parents went through to make me a happy and healthy child growing up into a (relatively) well-adjusted adult and father of my own child.

I realised how much pain and anguish my parents had to go through. I came to understand the emotions that parenthood involves and I came to realise that my parents really are my heroes.

There is a lot I didn’t get in life and in a strongly consumer-led world we tend to focus on what we don’t have, strive to work harder to fill those gaps. Tonight I came to appreciate, really appreciate, what I did and do have. Somewhere on Facebook I saw a quote about it not being the money we spend on our kids but the time we spend with them that is important.

In my own childhood my parents did spoil us with the best schools, expensive toys and an early appreciation for travel but the biggest gift they gave in abundance was their time. My parents were always there for my brother and me, they always wanted to know what we thought, how we felt and how we were. They made huge sacrifices to give us their everything. Most importantly though, they did all the little things that day in and day out gave us the stability and the grounding we so needed as growing kids to be who we are today.

Whether it was making the amazing lunches and dinners they gave us, tending to a bleeding cut or consoling us from a playground tiff or whether it was making sure we did our homework, cleared up the dishes or brushed our teeth, Grateful haiku bigit was the little things I took for granted but that frame the picture of parenthood. They were amazing and I am now realising just how special they are to me and how grateful I am.

I really must stop to smell the roses more often and I hope that I can give my little girl the same.