It all adds up, moms and dads. I know it doesn’t feel like it some days. But I promise you it does.
The heaps of clothes you wash, fold and neatly put away in their drawers.
The dinners you make so you can all have a moment together around the table.
The nights you sacrifice your own sleep because they’re sick or scared or simply “not tired.”
The thousands of times you let them interrupt you in the middle of something important because they want to share some random fact or ask a question.
The toys, the shoes, the power cords you pick up over and over and over again.
The personal plans you break because they need you more.
The slivers, the splinters, the boo-boos, the band-aids.
The drawings, medals and jerseys you keep carefully preserved for them.
The hard conversations you need to have but really don’t want to.
The prayers you quietly lift up for them every day.
The work you put into scrubbing toilets for boys who can’t aim.
The hours cleaning up—the floor, the table, the sofa—after messy eaters.
The decorations you put up and pull down, ushering in each holiday, season and family celebration.
The discretion you use when you talk aloud about a difficult someone or circumstance in front of them.
The time you take to help them with their math homework or book report or killer curve ball.
The goodbye hug you insist they give you when they leave the house each time.
The kisses you gently plant on their head when passing by as they sit on the couch engrossed in their iPad or phone.
The way you get things done or go to work, even when you’re sick or there’s just nothing left in the tank.
The little notes you leave for them—packed in their lunch box, posted on the mirror, tucked in their sports bag.
The bed making and the hours spent elbow deep in dishes. (Why oh why are there so many water bottles?).
The times you ask them about their day and get the same one-word response in return.
The late-night runs to the pharmacy, the calls to the pediatrician and the heart-racing visits to the ER.
The nights you let them crawl into bed with you because they had a bad dream.
The minutes spent cleaning up after and feeding the puppy, bearded dragon or guinea pig they promised to take care of.
The tongue you hold when they spit verbal daggers at you and roll their eyes because their hormones are raging.
The reassurances, the promises of “it will be okay,” even when you’re not sure yourself.
The baths, the butt wiping, the nail clipping, the shaving tutorials.
The reminders to brush their teeth, wear their retainer and put on deodorant (for the love of God). So many reminders.
The braids, the ponytails, the haircuts.
The time making dentist appointments, attending teacher conferences and hocking cookies, wreaths and wrapping paper for all those damn fundraisers.
The commitments on Sign Up Genius, the volunteer hours and the weekends spent coaching their team or leading their troop.
The hours that go into researching trips, planning birthday parties and scheduling play dates.
The Halloween costumes and ALL the Christmas shopping (not to mention the wrapping, too).
The carpool pick-ups.
The carpool drop-offs.
ALL OF IT. Every. Day.
These are the UNSEEN things.
And I know sometimes it can feel…
And you can feel…
But come closer and hear this, my friend: It’s all this UNSEEN that makes an UNFORGETTABLE impact on your children’s lives. Those hard and oftentimes undervalued tasks and gestures you do for them when you thought they weren’t looking are exactly what shapes them into the sort of people you want them to become.
The UNSEEEN adds up to kids who know what…
Real love is.
Hard work is.
Loyalty looks like.
That’s because the little things in life is what ultimately teaches them about the bigger things. It may not feel like it in the mundane tasks you perform day in and day out, but you’re actively shaping their character and cutting a clearer path for success. And while caring for a kid who has the stomach flu or setting up a chore chart may not be fodder for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, you’re molding your clay into masterpieces who will one day be committed husbands, loving wives, involved fathers and nurturing mothers.
So keep on keeping on, sisters and brothers. I know it’s hard. I know it feels like it all goes unnoticed. Trust me, I feel you. But the mustard seeds you’re planting in these growing years will eventually move mountains when they mature. Your work is meaningful. Your work is immeasurable. Your work is what matters. The world may not see it, but your ripples will be felt in waves in the years to come. Truly.
© Rachael Liska, happyhearthappyhome.com
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