As a parent, you spend hours training your kids to do the right thing. There are endless conversations about rules, self-care, chores, and bedtimes. And many moments are spent trying to do the right thing, yourself... showing your child unconditional love when they're screaming at you, teaching them the act of forgiveness even when you were the one wronged, and being the example of what kind of adult you hope and pray they grow up to be.
These are things that Mommies and Daddies do on a daily basis. It's a job that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... no holidays, no sick days, no mental health days. There are no raises and certainly no health benefits. The working conditions are not only tiring, but they involve dealing with irrational people day in and day out, being puked on, and never getting to go to the bathroom in peace. Being a parent is generally a thankless job....
Until one day it isn't. If you're as lucky as I am, you came home today and found your 6-year-old son beaming from ear to ear while he held out a stack of colorful hand-made cards. As I looked through the pictures of stick figures, misspelled words, and attempted drawings of hearts, I noticed that in each drawing, all family members were smiling. I also noticed how many times he wrote the word "love", even if it was misspelled. And I noticed that he practiced making a heart on every single page he gave me. I thanked him and gave him a huge hug and kiss.
"Thanks, so much, Buddy! What were all these for?"
"I just wanted to say 'thank you' for taking care of me and my sister... and the baby. You take real good care of us and I love you."
No, today being a parent was not thankless. When a 6-year-old boy is capable of demonstrating such love and care to others, you know that something is working. (And he even made a stack of cards for my husband AND for his sister... because "sissy would've been sad if everyone got cards but her.") I love my kid.