I’m so glad I kept a journal in my early days of parenting, when we were first meeting our children, and learning the foster parent dance. There are some magical moments caught in there…
I noticed early on that it was very powerful to say to my son, “I am glad you are here.” I told him over and over and over again – sometimes 10 or 20 times a day.
“I’m glad you are here.”
“I’m so happy to know you.”
“You are welcome here.”
For the first 6 to 9 months, he would respond by shouting “Don’t say that!” or “I’m not tryin’ to hear you!” But regardless of his words, his voice would soften and the tantrums would calm.
After that he would mostly ignore me or respond with an oh-so-pleasant eye roll and “I kno-wah. You said that before.”
Last night I was tucking him into bed and whispered into his ear the things I always do. “You are important. You are kind. You are sunshine. I’m glad you are here.”
I thought he was drifting off to sleep. I thought he wasn’t really listening. But as I made my way to the door I heard a little “Mommy?” I turned to find his bright eyes and cheeky smile. “I like it when you say that. Do it again?”
“Oh sweetheart. I’m so glad you are here.”