One day a few months ago, my son and daughter relaxed in the family room. My son worked on a homework assignment, and my daughter crocheted a scarf. Absorbed in their work, they ignored me, but I watched them. They are 16 (almost 17) and 19 now, so I breathe a little easier. My husband and I invested a lot of love, time and energy into their lives early on, and the investment appears to be paying off. I am proud of the confident, competent, responsible, caring people they have become, and I told them so. That day I said, “You know, you guys make me really proud. You are such wonderful people, and I’m really happy to say that you are my children.”
They barely moved. My son nodded slightly, looked up for a second and then went back to his homework. My daughter said, “Uh, huh.”
They didn’t need to hear me say that; they knew it already. Some people might have been offended by the lack of acknowledgement of the comment, but I took it as a compliment. It meant I did at least a few very important things right.
Over the years I volunteered at my kids’ school, I was a Girl Guide leader, and my husband coached hockey and baseball teams. During that time we saw lots of needy kids—the ones who stuck right by our sides on school field trips, desperate for adult attention, or the ones who stand on first base with their pleading eyes searching the bleachers for parental approval, or the heartbreaking ones who wandered out to the arena before their hockey game to see if, at least for that one game, a parent made it to the game.
If your children take you for granted, congratulations! Job well done.