There is nothing like being a parent to give you a profound sense of gratitude for what your parents did for you. Until I had been through the sleepless nights, wiping up vomit and poo, worried at the hospital (and this is just in the first 10 weeks) I found it hard to truly appreciate what my own parents have given up for me. I am increasingly incredulous that even those who don't much like their parents should at least be grateful.
Take, for example, my friend P. He has had every opportunity provided to him by his parents - a stable home life, a good education, support in his choices whatever they may be but he is still resolutely mean about his parents whenever he speaks about them. He finds them dull, boring, uncultured, and lacking in interesting conversation. He seems to dread his rare trips to see them, and moan about them when he does. I have never met his parents, they could be all of the above, but even if they were a couple of axe murderers they still brought him into the world, and cared for him, and made him who he is. This alone should ensure some respect, if not love.
My own parents are visiting at the moment and being the doting grandparents. I can only imagine how odd it must be to see your child with a baby of their own. Perhaps a sense of pride that I didn't turn out so bad? That I grew out of the stage where I [insert one of my many odd stages], that I made it to my 30s in good health, and that I didn't end up with any of the many unsuitable boyfriends I previously dated?
As I change Eve's nappy, or hold her as she cries, there are loving and knowing looks exchanged between my parents and I as I do my best to convey "I now understand what it was like with me, and thank you more than I can articulate". I suspect I actually just look a bit bemused, but the thought is definately there.
The sarcastic cynic. Or something like that
5 weeks ago