Tonight my dad texted me “I just saw on tv that the hardest job and most rewarding job is the same. It is being a parent.”
And it is also thankless. Don’t get me wrong, my kids say thank you for trips to the park, cookies, and strawberry milk (especially if it comes from Stensland’s). But they don’t say thank you for the things I am really pouring my heart and soul into. They do not say thank you for the late nights I work, because I spend every spare minute of my day playing, reading, and cuddling with them. They do not say thank you for the lunch breaks I give up so I can cart them to and from preschool. They do not say thank you for my patience while they help me rake leaves, and it takes twice as long.
But neither did I. And I should have. So here it is. Here is 33 years of me trying to make up for being thankless. Because I think you can do that on Thanksgiving. Well, even if you can’t, I am about to.
Thank you for the patience. I was a trying child. Thank you for not leaving me at a rest area when I screamed for four hours because you forgot my pony pillow, for listening to my horrible teenage drama, for not locking the door when I rolled in way after curfew, and for letting me cry when my kids act just like I did as a child.
Thank you for never giving up on me. You always believed in me more than I believed in myself. I once called you when I was in graduate school, saying I couldn’t finish. It was too hard and I couldn’t handle it. I wasn’t good enough. And you yelled at me. I was beyond appalled at the time. How dare you tell me I am not a quitter? How dare you tell me I was good enough? Well, thanks.
Thank you for working harder than you had to. I saw you. I saw you getting up too early and staying up after I went to sleep. I saw you in the crowd at every basketball game, band concert, and Bible School program. And then I saw you go back to work.
Thank you for handling life with so much faith. When grandma died, you never faltered in your faith of God. When Troy slept violently in that coma for much too long, you spoke faithfully that he would wake up. When I cried uncontrollably telling you about the tumor in my rib cage, you said we would be fine. And this year, when you called me to say those horrible words “prostate cancer” you assured me we would get through this. Even on our worst days, you have taught me to have faith, in God and in each other.
I can’t pay you back for the last 30 some thankless years. I can’t even appropriately thank you. I can’t give you those sleepless nights back. I can’t repay you for your work, faith, support, or time. But thank you. I appreciate you more than you will ever know. I have a life full of beauty thanks to you.
And because of you, I am okay with the thankless days. I am okay with the endless dishes and days without lunch breaks. I am okay with the screaming in the car and the sleepless nights. Because even though parenting is the hardest job, it is also the most rewarding. My dad says so.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad!