They won’t remember the endless nights spent rocking, consoling a small baby back to sleep. Even though the fatigue was felt through every bone in our bodies, we kept rocking and humming songs. Their needs were met, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the times we watched them breathe, as they lay sick in their bed, and how we worried over every movement, willing them to get better. We would take on the sickness as our own, if only it meant they would not have to suffer. We made soup, wrapped cool washcloths around their forehead, helped them sip water and wiped away tears of sadness. They knew they were well taken care of, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember how we tediously attended to every detail of their birthday parties, making homemade cupcakes and DIY decorations. We collapsed from exhaustion after each one. They smiled and felt loved, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the endless hours we spent scouring for the perfect Christmas gifts, making reindeer pancakes, wrapping, traveling, staying up late to assemble toys, and ensuring each part of their holiday was perfect. It was stressful and chaotic every single year. They felt the magic, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the games, recitals, pack and club meetings we sped to after work, so they may be a part of something they enjoy. We were probably tired, and wanted nothing more than to go to bed, but we showed up every single time. They felt important, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the sacrifices made to be able to afford vacations and the effort involved to create memories. Traveling with a family is hard, but we did it anyway. They gained a sense of wonder and adventure, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the late nights spent assisting with homework, making treats, emailing teachers, advocating for them, checking their backpacks, making their lunches. They succeeded, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember how we knew what they were feeling before a word was ever spoken. As the keeper of their hearts, we tried to protect it from heartbreak and loss as much as possible. They felt supported, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember all the pushes on the swing, catches at the end of the slide, miles run playing tag or giggles heard during hide ‘n’ seek. Most times, there were other responsibilities to worry about, but we put off the laundry and dishes because playing is more important. They had fun, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the tears of frustration and guilt we shed from mess-ups. Big or small, there were endless nights spent wondering what could have been done differently. They only knew we were trying our best, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember the bedtime stories, repeated tuck-ins, extra drinks of water and the thousands of times they were reassured monsters do not live under the bed. They felt safe, and that was all that mattered.
They won’t remember how we quietly observed their every move with a smile on our face. With every milestone passed, a parent’s heart swells with pride and then breaks a little knowing their child needs them less and less; because learning to let go is by far the hardest part of parenting. They felt seen, and that was all that mattered.
In the end, a million little moments will make up our journey as parents. Moments of pure joy, sadness, fear, worry, and belly laughter. Even though they may not recall all of the blood, sweat, and tears we poured into them, we will. And those moments we will carry with us for a lifetime. What a gift they have given. They have given us someone to eternally love, which makes all of those big and small efforts so worthwhile. They are our legacy, and provide us an important place in this world as we are raising the next generation of happy, well-adjusted people. We have shown them what love can do, and they have felt it. Even though they may not remember it, they will always know it is there. That, my friends, is the pure magic of parenthood.