I was reading an article the other day about successful relationships. 

The crux of the piece was that in order for a relationship (of any kind) to be happy and functional, it must be a two-way street. 

While this seems obvious, the author went on to say that the most successful relationships happen when participants value each other equally. 

This got me thinking about Charlie (because everything comes back to Charlie eventually).

I write (and think) a lot about Charlie’s needs.  

Her need for assistance, for independence, for development, for stimulation, for education, for sustenance, for love…her need for me.  

I don’t often consider my need for her, but after giving it some thought I realised that it is as big as it is different.

Charlie gives me so much, and these are just a few of the things I value:

1. She Teaches Me

Charlie has taught me patience beyond anything I’ve ever had before.  

She gently and uncompromisingly approaches life on her own terms, at her own pace.  

I’ve learned to go with her flow and find that her calm is infectious.

She teaches me a type of perseverance and tolerance I’ve never known.  

I can be pig-headed, but I’ve learned that true perseverance is a different, and far more adaptable, thing.  

Charlie doesn’t communicate verbally and I talk at a million miles per minute.  

She forces me to slow down, to have more meaningful connections instead of just lots of fast ones.

2. She Centres Me

I know who I am with Charlie.  

I’m so comfortable and secure in my role as her mother.  

She looks to me with such love and trust, and I’ve realised that I look to her in exactly the same way.

3. She Makes Me Laugh

Nothing makes me laugh like the sound of Charlie’s laughter.  

Her giggles are absolutely infectious, and she can draw an answering chuckle from me on even the bleakest of days.  

Her happiness has had doctors, nurses, educators and therapists cracking up even when they’re trying to take her blood.  

She is such a source of joy.

4. She Calms Me

There is no better ‘therapy’ in the world than a solid half hour in Charlie’s exclusive company.  

Her presence is so soft, so sweet, so gentle and loving.  

She is all warm hugs and long looks and contented giggles when I’m feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. 

5. She Needs Me

Although this one even confuses me sometimes, I love her need for me.  

I love that there are some things that she’d rather have me do for her than anyone else.  

I love that I can read so many of her subtle cues and that with every ‘Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma’ (her latest vocalisation), I feel like she’s asking for me.  

She makes me feel relevant, useful, wanted, and loved.

And really…what’s more valuable than that?

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