My friend and I had a conversation today that I have had numerous times, with various friends, since becoming a parent.
Does it matter?
Sometimes it all seems so trivial.
The bottoms you wipe. The diapers you change. The hours spent awake at night rocking your infant to sleep.
The piles of laundry you clean, fold and put away. The meals you make. The dishes you wash.
The trips to various doctors offices. The car rides to and from sporting events and extra-curricular activities.
The countless number of Cheerios you pick up off the floor. The number of sippy cups you fill.
The appointments you make. The playdates you plan—and those you cancel because your child is now sick.
The coats and boots you put on. The diaper bags you pack. The numerous times you have to run back inside the house to grab just “one more thing”.
The hair you hold back when your child is sick in the middle of the night. The temperatures you take. The trips to the pharmacy—and sometimes the emergency room.
The tears you wipe. The boo-boos you kiss, clean and cover with a Band-Aid (regardless of if a Band-Aid is really needed or not).
The homework you help with. The lunches you pack. The field trips you attend.
The stories you read. The LEGOs you build and toys you play with—even with that pile of laundry that needs folded.
The time you spend picking up and putting away things. Again. And again. And again.
The times you rush home from work to feed the kids a quick meal before heading to the ballpark (for the third time that week).
The conversations you have about responsibility and making wise choices and what it means to be a good friend, and on and on and on until you are blue in the face.
The times you have to discipline your child. And the time you spend second-guessing whether that was the right form of discipline.
The class parties you help with. The school concerts and carnivals you attend.
The trips to the grocery and Costco and Target.
The time you spend worrying about your teenage child and praying he will make good choices. The time you spend praying she will make it home OK.
The vacations you plan. The bags you pack. And then unpack.
The electronics you monitor. The apps you check. The texts you read. The time you spend wondering when it’s OK to say yes to phones and social media and the internet and whatever new thing popped up this week in the ever-expanding and constantly changing world of devices.
The trips to visit colleges. The hours you ride in the passenger seat with knuckles tightly clutching whatever you can grab on to while your teenager is learning to drive.
The list goes on and on.
Sometimes it may feel like you are stuck in the movie Groundhog Day, doing the same things over and over and over again. Sometimes it may feel like you are doing all of this and nobody really notices. Sometimes you may wonder if anyone really cares.
As you pick up your 30th Cheerio and clean dishes for the third time that day you may wonder does it matter?
Yes. Yes, it matters.
Each tear you wipe. Each boo-boo you clean. Each appointment you schedule. Each of these is a moment spent doing something for someone you love. For someone who depends on you. It is for your child, your spouse, your family—and the value of this is priceless.
Each of these acts, as trivial as they may sometimes seem, are investments of your time and energy to help care for those you love.
These acts say, “I see you and I care about you.” They say, “I am here for you.”
They are acts of love. Some big. Some small.
And they matter.
You may not hear thank yous or receive accolades, but that does not take away from the importance—or the impact—of what you are doing.
What you are doing matters.
Yes, it matters.
Very, very much.
I hope you always know that in your heart to be true. I hope you carry that with you today and the next day and the next.
What you are doing matters.
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