So here’s the thing . . .
You can love your kids with your whole heart and sometimes they will still feel unloved.
You can work hard at communication, and sharing feelings, and honoring differences, and keeping an open door and they will still feel like they can’t talk to you about everything.
You can do your darndest not to make the same mistakes your parents made and wake up one morning realizing you did the one thing you swore you’d never do.
You can go to the ends of the earth to give them the safest, happiest, most love-filled childhood and they will still have moments where they want to escape their life.
You can be assured by everyone around you—including your kids—that you are, in fact, a GREAT parent and still mess up.
You can avoid talking about appearances and they can still have body issues.
You can choose your words carefully and still say the wrong thing.
You can praise them, and cheer from the stands, and encourage them daily, and some days they will still feel like they don’t measure up.
You can teach them about Jesus and read scripture, and pray with them, and they may still choose a different path.
You can hold them accountable and let them accept the consequences, and teach them right from wrong, and they will still make bad choices.
You can do the absolute best you know to do and some days it just won’t be enough.
Some days you will fall short. You’ll lose your composure, lecture too much, brush them off when they need to talk, roll your eyes at something that’s a big deal to them, let them push your buttons, or occasionally be so absorbed in your own pain you miss theirs.
Or none of that. You can literally do everything the parenting books tell you and still you will both falter.
Some days you won’t like them very much. And they won’t like you, either.
And on those days you’ll stare into the mirror and ask yourself, “What in the actual heck is happening here?”
Because this . . . this was the job you wanted to get right more than anything else you’ve ever done in your whole life.
But you aren’t perfect. Go figure.
And neither are they.
Yet maybe . . .
. . . if you can forgive them for not seeing how hard you’re trying . . .
. . . and forgive yourself for doing the absolute best you can even though you’ve missed the mark more times than you can count . . .
. . . and trust God to fill in the gaps . . .
. . . then maybe it will turn out alright after all, even if it’s not exactly how you thought it would go.