…And that’s okay. A parents love is a pay it forward love. We learn to love knowing that our children will never be able to understand or love us reciprocally, but we know they will love their children the way that we love them. Most days, that’s enough for me.

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In the early days of experiencing the sacrifice of parenthood, I longed for my son to realize how much I loved him and all I was doing for him. Briefly, I entertained the idea that someday he might fully comprehend everything I was giving up to raise him. Then he would really appreciate me.

But I can’t expect that. I know as much as I love my mom, she loves me more. She just does. She and my dad are all kinds of bending-over-backwards generous, and just when I think they can’t give me anything more, they find something else to give.

This is parenting love, loving forward toward someone who can never love you back like that. And yet the act of love is reward enough.

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