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Parenting for sure can be a thankless job at times. The real paydays come when we least expect them. The other day I agreed to go on a field trip with my daughter. I was excited to be with her but the bus ride was long and hot, then we had to walk a long way (not my favorite thing). I got to be in charge of about five kids including my daughter, so I didn't really get alone time with her, but the kids were well-behaved and they had fun. My daughter slept most the way home during the long hot bus ride back, but for the most part it was a good day.
After we got home she said to me, "Dad, this was the best day of my life." Needless to say I was a little surprised at her comment. What I thought about saying was, "Honey, you just think that because you haven't had a lot of experiences in your life." But, before that could come out of my mouth my eyes where watering as I looked into her face and realized that she was totally serious. I involuntarily fell to my knees to be at her level and hugged her from that deep hugging place in side of me ... (I had to pause as I typed this to wipe a tear that I got again as I recounted this event) and said, "Oh honey, I loved being with you too." We hugged for a moment and then she ran off to play.
What had I done really. I was just there. That's all, I was just there. I am often not there, however, and most of the day-time stuff is up to Mom, so on this day when normally I wouldn't have been around ... I was, and it made all the difference to her. So remember, even if you plan and research all you parenting activities, it's the little things that matter.