When it first came out, I read Dad’s post While You Were Sleeping and it really struck a chord in me. I have read it about 7 times now and it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy in the amazing knowledge that “my daddy loves me”. I decided then that I was going to write something that he could read and maybe see that this little bear cub feels his love and his good intentions, even while I sleep. And maybe if I could convince reader parents that we kids feel your love and we love you back, I will have done my good deed for today.
I am the oldest of the children in my family and I have learnt through time and experience that my parents are not all knowing or all able. I know that they are sometimes sad, angry, frustrated or disappointed. I know that they work hard sometimes, that they need help or they are a bit stressed. But although I know they are not invincible, they are still my cocoon. No matter how old I get (and I seem to be getting older every year), I still go to them for support. I go to them for advice, for help and most of all, for comfort. They are still my pillars of strength and my source of love.
I also admit that we don’t agree about everything. Sometimes we argue. Maybe I didn’t call to say what time I would be home or they didn’t listen to me while I was explaining how annoying my lecturer was. Maybe I have an exam tomorrow but I did not really go to sleep on time (even thought they told me to) or I went to bed without doing the dishes. Sometimes we even blow up on some big things like will I ever go to university (which I do now) or do I want to work as a waitress all my life (which I no longer do).
But no matter what, I always know that they love me, because they tell me all the time. Even after we have a fight, they make a point of saying, “You know I still love you, right?” They always give me a hug to show they are there to help me. They will never forget to blow a kiss before they hang up the phone.
And at the end of the day, no matter how my day was, no matter if they are home or if we argued that day, I go to sleep at night knowing that I am loved. And how am I 100% sure? Because each night that I go to bed before Mom and Dad, even when they come home late from an engagement or they stay up to do some extra work, they check up on me. I always cuddle up under the blanket real tight and wait. I can hear their footsteps in the corridor and suddenly the door cracks open an inch and a small shaft of light comes in. I close my eyes lightly and pretend to be asleep, just soaking up their love as they stand there looking out for me.
On bad days, I think that maybe the day wasn’t so bad after all and on good days, I think the day is even better than it was before. And I sleep soundly knowing that when I wake up in the morning, they are going to be there for me, just where I left them.
Maybe as children we cannot be there for our parents as much as they are there for us. But we love them just as much. And we do everything in our little power to make sure they know it. We bring kitschy little presents and hand-picked flowers, we cook meals that are far too salty or burnt or sour. We share our treats and paint pictures. We try our best.
So I need you to know that as kids, we really appreciate when you pay attention to us, when you drive us places, even though you are really busy and there are a million more important things you need to do. We love that you take the time to tuck us in and read us a book and that you listen to our funny stories about school and work and friends. We love that you patiently wait while we rant and rave about the stupid teacher or the annoying boss for the fifth time and we want you to know that on those days, when you fall asleep in the living room from the sheer exhaustion of it all, we go about our business quietly to give you those extra 15 minutes of peace. Sometimes, we pause for a couple of seconds and stare at your sleeping face, thinking, “If only you could feel how much we love you too”.
So tell your kids you love them. Show them your love. You can be sure they feel it. And if you look closely enough, you will see that in every little thing they do, they try to show you just how much they love you right back.