Cry Love

February 24, 2012

(This is a post from the archives.)

The woman across from me at Pizza Hut pounded the table for emphasis as she stated, “I firmly believe that if you raise your kids properly and follow all the right rules, they will turn out the way they should. I mean, look at my three kids. They all turned out great!”

And I thought to myself, “Smug, much?”

Although this conversation took place fifteen years ago, I have never forgotten that woman’s words; I have never forgotten her conviction that her children were wonderful simply because she was wonderful.

But you know what? Kids aren’t formed by formulas, they can’t be quantified by simplistic, cookie cutter thinking.  Kids are humans. Humans have free will. Humans have hearts that can choose to make right choices and hearts that can choose to make wrong choices.

Sure, a kid has a much better chance of turning out well if he or she is raised in a loving, stable home as opposed to being homeless on the streets of some big city.   But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in forty-nine years of being alive, thirty years of being a minister’s wife, and twenty-three years of being a mother, it’s that heartache happens.

Heartache happens in the healthiest of homes and in the happiest of homes.

Heartache happened in the home I grew up in.  Although it was a home where many things were done right, a home where there was love, prayer, laughter, and affirmation, heartache still happened.

And the longer I live, the more stories I hear of strong, wonderful families who are visited by heartache.

Last Thanksgiving,  Steve called up a pastor friend of ours whom we haven’t seen in a few years.  Don and Sherri are about the finest human beings you will ever meet and are a couple who who we admire greatly.  If you were to see a picture of their six gorgeous children, you would the smiles and demeanors of children who are well raised and well-loved.

But on Thanksgiving when Steve asked Don what their plans were for the day Don said, “Well, Sherri and I are going to the rehab center to visit Noah.”

Noah, their handsome, gifted son, the same age as Sarah, is fighting a drug habit.  And yet another happy home is visited by heartache.

Recently we got a call from another pastor who is a long time friend of Steve’s. His young adult son (with a 13-year history of drug and alcohol abuse) had just gotten into some serious trouble with the law.  His mom and dad whom we love dearly, are absolutely heart-broken. They had seen so much improvement in their son and they were daring to hope that things were turning around for him. But now their talented, greatly loved, raised-in-a-preacher’s-home-prodigal sits in a jail cell, facing all sorts of trouble.

Just a few weeks ago, Steve and I spent all day in Family Court with one of our parishoners who is doing her best to get sole custody of her granddaughter who was born into hellacious circumstances.  I sat and listened for eight hours to all the ways that a family can go wrong and it made me enormously sad.

It made me sad because family is such a good idea. Family is such a God idea. Family is meant to be a reflection of heaven on earth and so many times, it’s just the opposite.

Sometimes  I look at my own two kids with a mixture of gratitude and bewilderment.  At least thus far, they have turned out well.  Nathan is a college graduate, recently married, active in his church and a solid, Christian young man.

Sarah, at 16, has yet to exhibit any signs of rebellion. She has a heart for God and for people and is a joy to call our child.

Am I ever tempted to feel smug?  To feel like, “Well, we did everything right in our parenting and that’s the reason our kids are so wonderful?”

Nope. I am not  tempted. I’m not tempted to feel smug because I can sit down right now and make a list as long as the Mississippi of the ways that I failed as a mom.  And I also know that the people I just wrote about have been absolutely fabulous parents and their kids still made incredibly painful, wrong choices.

So smugness is not really an option for any of us.

All of us struggle at some level with the issue of family heartache. Steve and I have counseled so many people over the years and have heard stories of pain and dysfunction that are the next thing to unbelievable, the next thing to unbearable.

But in every single one of those sessions, I have felt only compassion and sadness; never smugness, never the temptation to pound the desk and say, “Well, if you’d done everything right, if you’d been a better parent, you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Because there is no perfect family. And there is no perfect parent. The only perfect parent who ever existed was God and even His kids blew it big time.

I don’t have an easy answer for you as to why heartache happens in good homes. But for some reason, I just feel compelled to write about this today, to let you know that you aren’t alone, that you aren’t a failure as a parent.  You are never a failure when you have planted seeds of love in a child’s heart.

Many times though, we wish God would just hurry up and fix things already.  We pray and wait and cry and nothing seems to happen. Well, maybe it’s not happening today, and maybe it’s not happening next week.  However, we must keep in mind that things like second chances,  hopeless situations turned around and impossible surprises sometimes take a little time.

I really wish I had some simple, spiffy answers to give you.  I wish that I could share with you 9 Easy Steps That Are Guaranteed To Make Everything Turn Out Okay.

But I can’t. 

What I can offer you though, is a compassionate heart, a heart that has been created by seeing more pain in my life than I will ever be able to blog about, the kind of pain you probably wouldn’t immediately associate with someone like me.  Although I wish I hadn’t been through the pain I’ve experienced, I’m grateful for the fruits of that pain; the fruits of compassion, empathy and a deeper understanding of those who suffer.

I know that other people who read here have also been through tough times and as a result, they have much compassion and wisdom to share.  So regardless of what you’re facing today in your life, or in your family, if you are feeling tired, beaten down, and disheartened, just hold on and know that you’re among friends.

And never forget that it’s okay when you reach the point where you can do nothing but pray and cry.  Because as I told my pastor’s wife friend whose son is in jail, “Mothers don’t cry tears; mothers cry love.

So go ahead and cry love.  And know that as you cry, you’re not alone.

62 responses to Cry Love

  1. Becky, I read this when you first posted it, and have re-read and thought of it many times since. I felt I must post a comment thanking you for your beautiful words that are a gift to so many of us parents. I have made the long list of mistakes as a parent, but so far my kids are on pretty good paths. I will not take that for granted, not even for a minute. And I must remember your words as I become a grandparent. I am forever grateful for your kind and compassionate posts.

    • Ann, how sweet of you to comment so long after reading the post. That means a lot to me, that the words that I wrote stuck with you so long.

      Your words were a blessing to me today.

  2. Becky,
    Such wise words. Parents with children that turn out well *do* take so much credit, and parents with wayward children (like my children) are often looked down on–what did I do to screw them up? My son at nearly 18 is finding his way, but it has not been an easy journey. My 14 yr old daughter is on a tough path…I lost my smugness a long time ago. I cry a lot. I’ve found friends who can cry with me. Thanks for your post.

    • HMBALISON

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad to know you have friends who will cry with you over parenting challenges; that is truly the best kind of friend to have.

      Your line, “I lost my smugness a long time ago” is so very poignant. We lose our smugness and we catch a glimpse of reality and we just keep loving those challenging, precious kids of ours! It’s how life is.

  3. Oh, Becky, how wise. Life in many ways is filled with chances, You get some good you don’t deserve, some you do, and the same with the bad. By living it the best way you can, you can up the chances of some things, lower them in others,but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen and when it does it happens 100% to you.

  4. Cindy in Tennessee February 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

    What a beautiful post. Never as parents should we think that we are perfect or that our children are perfect. We only do the best we can, by God’s grace. I have a twenty-three year old son, who I am very thankful has turned out quite good, but never do I think he does no wrong because I know we are all only human.

    My parents raised four children. Three girls and the youngest a boy. All raised in a loving Christian home, sent to a Christian school, but my brother got messed up with drugs as a teenager and is still struggling with them. He straightens up for a while and then seems to wander back to his old friends and down the path he knows he shouldn’t. I know there has been so much heartache for my parents, but they have always been there for him. It has to be left with God with much love and prayer.

    • Cindy,

      Thanks for sharing the story of your family and the love and patience your parents show your brother, despite the heartache caused. That is so inspiring to read about that kind of love.

  5. Becky,
    Thank you so very much for this beautiful post. It really speaks to my mother’s heart. I read a prayer on another site recently that went something like this:
    “Dear God, please stay by my child’s side, especially when she leaves mine.”
    Thank goodness we know the Lord is looking out for our children, too. However, that doesn’t stop the heartache when it does occur. Thanks again for your lovely words.
    God bless you.

  6. Becky, I so rarely comment but today’s post…today’s post was beautiful. It should be published for EVERY person to read. “Mothers cry love.” – oh be still my heart.

    • Suzanne,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for your encouragement. If I can touch one even discouraged or disheartened parent with this piece, I will know I have done my job well.

  7. Thank you so much, Becky. Absolutely wonderful post.

  8. Thanks so much for this post. Right now I am very blessed with 3 teenage girls who love their parents and each other and are making good choices. I know this can change in an instant and want to continue to be grateful for our situation and sensitive to those who are struggling. Just because we seem to be doing o.k. today, doesn’t mean it will be that way tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like others don’t want to share their burdens because they feel like we don’t understand. I do understand as I grew up in a very dysfunctional home with 5 kids who struggled through adolescence. Thanks for the reminder to reach out to others.

    • Lynda,

      I can only imagine how extra precious your peaceful home is to you having grown up in a dysfunctional home. Your comment shows a lot of compassion and empathy. Continued grace to you and your family!

  9. Lisa from Georgia February 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Becky,
    This, like many of your posts, is absolutely beautiful. You are so right about parents and children. It is a paradox that I will never understand. Teaching middle school, I have seen kids with the best life has to offer throw it all away while kids who live in homes with no structure, no moral compass and no love come out on the other side as amazing adults. When you spoke of Noah, you said he had a drug “habit”. And while I know that people who begin to use drugs usually start on their own will, I believe with all my heart that a drug problem that takes over someone’s life, makes them abandon their children or break their parents’ hearts is not a habit, but a sickness. I know people may not like my comment and I hope you delete it if it takes away from the sweetness of your blog. I have followed you since your CB days and love your family. But, addiction is a sickness…not a choice! Addicts and alcoholics in treatment are not bad trying to get good, they are sick trying to get well. In addiction most addicts are not trying to get high, but trying to find normal again. When you said “habit” and “choice”, I just felt like I had to comment for all addicts and alcoholics in recovery. Does someone make a choice to be an addict or an alcoholic? Does someone choose to have lung cancer? No, they may have chosen to smoke, but not the cancer. Again, I do not want to be a trouble stirrer on my favorite blog. Thanks for letting me add a few comments.

    • Lisa,

      If everyone with varying opinions were as sweet as you in expressing them, the world would be a better place.

      Thanks for speaking up with another side of the issue to consider; I appreciate your input so much!

  10. This is a great post because you can give your child all the right tools and he/she may not use them the right way. At age 5 my child started to steal, he still is young, only 7, and as a mom, felt i had failed. I couldn’t understand why he would do this and i tried to fix it, for now the problem seems to be fixed. I always joked when he was really little that he would go to stores and take things because most places we visited they would give him candy, so i wasn’t greatly surprised when he stole for the first time. I have and had given him the tool, the knowledge to know right from wrong and what could happen if he continued his actions. So i hope as he gets older he won’t steal again but if he does i will always love him and know it was out of my hands and not because he wasn’t loved and raised right.

    • Becky,

      You’re right–love is the very best gift we can give our children. It’s so easy to love them when they’re doing well but a little harder when they’ve done something to disappoint us.

      Your words about teaching a child right from wrong and teaching them about consequences are so important for any parent to take to heart.

  11. Beautiful post! You have such a way with words that i could only ever hope to convey in my own writing! Near or far, overseas or not, it’s such a blessing to know someone, somewhere, has your level of compassion for others!

    • Becky,

      Thank you for that.

      It’s encouraging to me, the more I get to see my readers’ comments on various posts that I’ve written, that there are many, many compassionate people who hang around Smithellaneous. And for that, I am grateful!

  12. Beautiful post, Becky. You are so right that every family has unseen events and even Christian families that we admire and look to for guidance have the same problems with children that other families have. We have had some events in our family that hurt and were very painful but God brought us through. Prayer is such a help and sometimes all we know to say is “Lord, I don’t know what to say. Just intervene for me with our Father.” God bless you, Becky, as you continue to minister to others.

    • Ann,

      How right you are that even families we look to for guidance have deeply hurtful and painful things to deal with. We’re all humans and humans hurt! But how wonderful it is when we can reach out not just to God but to other fellow pilgrims who have gone through similar things.

  13. Hi Becky,
    Great post. I have always said “God hates smug”. Anytime I hopped on the smug path, or was even tempted, something would happen to humble me as a parent and remind me of my fallibility! Before I became a parent, I truly thought it was all about upbringing… but now I believe these little humans are already a full package. We can only teach them values and model our best, and love them to bits, and hope when the time comes that they will make the right choices. And if they don’t, that God will give us the grace to bear the heartache and help them back on the right path…

  14. You rang the bell one more time. Not that I’m surprised. You are a blessing.

  15. Thank you for this message that I didn’t know I needed to hear. Sometimes, even though I did all within my power “right” , the “what did I do wrong” question can pop in at any time. I have to remember that I helped my child build a foundation in and on Christ….the Place & Person for him to go to when his choices led elsewhere and that when he is “old” he will not depart from it….God’s promise to parents. My heart breaks over each comment as I recognize the feelings that can erupt when a child chooses a destructive path…as a parent I felt pain as I’d never known, fear, betrayal, anger…no answers to “why”…often wondering “Who is this child? I don’t know this person” and fear was a biggie. Selfishly screaming in my head and even saying it calmly outwardly, “Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to you, what did you lack that you would do this (or that)?” Then God had to redirect me. So grateful He is faithful…to the hurting child and the hurting parents, the hurting aunts, the hurting siblings. Over the past 6 years I came to realize that I had to keep my focus on God and His promises or I could have easily drowned in my emotions and unanswered questions. In an e-mail to me, Becky, you reminded me that Adam & Eve, God’s children, messed up a lot and that one statement helped me more than you know. Thank you.

    Hope “old” comes to fruition soon as I see prayers answered, albeit slowly, in a softening heart…a heart slowly recognizing their need to follow The Saviour because the last “wrong path” brought a beautiful grandchild into my heart and life and my son, a father now, has done a 180 turn around in life choices and is seeking to do right…God is nudging him and his family onto His Path. Looking forward to seeing “old” arrive! :)

    • Guerrina,

      So happy to hear that you’re seeing some slow progress in your son’s life. Your words and story were so poignant and I know that many others reading it could relate to it and were touched by it.

      I once heard the saying “To be a parent is to let your heart walk around outside your body.” Your comment just confirmed that saying all over again.j

  16. Becky,
    I loved this post! Of all the posts of yours that I’ve read over the past few years, this one is my very favorite! I really appreciate your “realness,” as well as the honesty, and even the jagged pain of your writing.

    I am so glad that your Nathan and Sarah are doing so well- that is truly a blessing. I love reading about them, and can only hope I can be the kind of mom you are to my own daughter. My little girl went through so much terrible pain and horrific circumstances for her first 10 years of life (before we adopted her 2 years ago). It breaks my heart to think of how much the child I love more than life has suffered. On top of the suffering she has survived, her first 10 (formative) years were not spent being trained up “well in the way she should go” and I worry so much as to what her future will hold and how her early years will impact the rest of her life.

    However, I cling to the promises that God is faithful and that he has a plan for Samantha’s life that is so much bigger than what I can dream for her. And, I hold onto hope and faith that I can do my best to be her mother and parent her as best I can now in these years she has been entrusted to me- but at the same time I’m also learning that it is not all up to me and to let go and “let God be God.” God is the author of Sam’s life; just as he was there for her in the years where I was not, he will continue to be there for her in her future and for the rest of her life. Even if her future continues to hold pain and (as I suspect it will) even if she continues to struggle and she doesn’t always take the even, straight path I dream for her, I can hold onto the hope that those struggles will not be the conclusion of Sam’s story, but instead a chapter in her life. Her story will not be finished, because God, the Author and Creator of life is a God of second (and third and eighty-ninth) chances, and not only will he never give up on her, but he will continue to have his pen dipped in the ink well and continue to write her story. I trust that God has a plan for her life. I’ve gone through a lot of pain and challenges in my own life- and I have learned that it has been those experiences that God has used to form me and shape my character, as well as to grow in me empathy for those who also suffer. And, I am so grateful for that!

    Thanks again for such a wonderful and thoughtful post today!
    Jenna

    • Jenna,

      Samantha is a blessed little girl to get to call you mommy. She is in such good hands and I can only imagine what sort of healing you have already brought about in her life, just through your consistent love, and prayers, and direction.

      The Bible says that has a special love for the orphan and the widow and I believe He also gives special grace to those who care for the orphans. Blessings to your family today.

  17. My Dearest Becky,

    How amazing that you can reach into our hearts and minds and know just what we need, when we need it. And then minister to us so gently and compassionately that a bit of our burden is lifted simply by visiting you and your words.

    Although I have no children of my own, I have had the absolute pleasure of helping to raise my five nephews. And even though I’m not their “mom”, my heart aches and breaks for them as they travel the road to adulthood. My eldest nephew has had numerous run-ins with both the authorities and drugs and alcohol. And, as is the case with your friend, I was so hopeful that he may be finally on the right path. This week he was put back in jail after violating his parole due to poor choices. Here we go again. You would think after numerous incidents either he would wake up or we would become numb to the pain, but that’s not the case. I grieve for him, for my 86- year-old parents who may never visit with him in person again during their lifetimes, and for the rest of my family who simply has no clue how to best help him exorcise his demons. It has been an extremely sad few days, which were brightened today only after reading your blog. I am so comforted knowing that my tears were tears of love, and that
    we all are connected in this world not only through joy but through sadness.

    Thank you, my cyber-friend, for reaching out and comforting me when I didn’t even know I needed it.

    Much love from Ohio,
    Linda

    • Linda,

      It’s so funny–I’ve had this post about 98% written for 3 weeks now but just never felt like it was the “right” day to post it. Today though, was the day when I felt the nudge and it makes my heart happy to know that it has lifted a burden for you, as you cry love for your own family.

      Thanks for sharing the tough parts of your life.

  18. Beautiful post! I have met many “smug” parents in my day. I’m alway saddened that these parents treat teenagers with alchohol/drug problems as “bad”, “rebellious”, etc. So many forget that addiction is a disease! These addicts deserve our compassion, not our contempt.

    I have five wonderful children….all now in their 20’s. As they were growing up and my husband and I were dealing with all the good times and the heartaches, my mother used to remind me……”we are all a mess and a miracle!” So true!

    • Lauren,

      Yes, there really isn’t much room in this world for smug parents. We all make mistakes and none of us handles every parenting challenge perfectly.

      Such profound words you shared–we are all a mess and a miracle. That goes for parents and kids alike!

  19. Becky, this is wonderfully written and very true. I grew up with numerous siblings. We were all raised by the same parents, with the same expectations placed on us. Several of my siblings have chosen to turn away from the religious views of their parents. One used drugs for a while. I don’t think any parent can be smug and think “I’m good; therefore, my children will always do the right thing.” Even though my children are in their 20s and seem to have their act together, every morning I pray for God to give them the wisdom to continue to do what is right.

    • Anna,

      I agree. No matter if our kids are in their 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s they are still our “kids” and are hearts will always travel with them wherever they go. So thankful that our prayers follow them, right along with our hearts!

  20. A very wonderful post from a very wonderful mom! Thank you!!

    • Gina,

      Thank you so much. I don’t always feel like a wonderful mom but I am always a “learning mom,” as we all are. Regardless of the tough times, parenting is a priceless, precious privilege.

  21. Beautiful post in so many ways. Thank you, Becky.

  22. Dear Becky,

    Like the others who have commented, I needed to read this today. I often cry out to God to help my son Michael. There are many nights when tears are all I have left, but I am trying to trust God and his timing and I am praying hard. Thank you for your words and your insights filled with love and wisdom.

    • Lisa,

      I know so many mothers who join you in weeping for their own children. You’re not alone; your tears are seen and your prayers are heard.

  23. Beautifully stated Becky. God has sure given you an amazing talent and gift and I am so thankful I get to be a part of it. Thank you for reminding all of us that the only Perfect one is God. Thanfully he is in my life and I get up everday thanking him for all that I have and all that I am.
    You are awesome. Have a great weekend.

  24. This one hits home hard. I’ve been through a lot with my daughter. It finally came down to accepting that my job was to love her and that was the job that I could do well. It’s been that way for a long time. I really don’t like it when I can say ‘been there, done that’. It hurts my heart for those that have to reach the place where they know they’ve done all they can. That’s when love is all there is. It’s a tough road.

    • Beverly,

      “That’s when love is all there is.” Such a true statement, especially when you’ve done every single thing you know how to do.

      Thanks for sharing your difficult story with us.

  25. Becky, I so needed your words and support and comfort today. I have been “crying love” a lot lately for both my girls and feeling very alone – just the other day, I laid it all down at God’s feet and cried out loud for help – it was heard – things are slowing changing – problems are being worked through – still much more to work on but what a joy today to read your statement that I am not alone – and neither are you, my friend.

    • Mary,

      Crying love is something we mothers do best and the love we cry serves as seeds for healing.

      I’m so glad to hear that things are changing and problems are being worked through. Even though it’s slow progress, at least it’s progress!

  26. Thanks for posting this! It is so hard to be a good parent, and there are days when I feel like I have failed my girls, although I try to set a good example, and be the parent I know God wants me to be. I pray for my girls daily, and hope they make good decisions, but always try to be there regardless! Thanks for letting us know that our best is our best, and our children have to do the rest.

    • Tiffany,

      What a good reminder to all of us–we can only do our best.

      Being a parent is a tough and challenging and joyful job, isn’t it?

  27. This brought tears to my eyes…..My beautiful, intelligent soon to be 17 year old daughter suffers from a severe eating disorder. It has put my family, her especially, through hell. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier if it was a drug/alcohol problem because you can remove those things from someones life, get them away from it even temporarily, but how do you do that with food – the very thing you need to keep living? I watch her struggle every single day with self-loathing and why? We have an 11 year old who is happy, well-adjusted, loves herself and life – they were both raised in the same house yet one hates life and one loves it. I watch my oldest daughter wear her younger sisters clothes and if my some rare chance she isn’t able to comfortalby fit in an 11 year olds jeans – the “fact” that she is now fat, her thighs are too big, she’s eaten too much sends her into a deeper depression – how do you overcome something like that? She is on medication, followed closely by her doctor as well as a psychiatrist, but it persists. She is getting ready to be a senior in high school, apply to colleges, get her license – all the happiest most carefree times in her life – yet the darkness is there, clouding her life, not allowing her to be happy. Please say a prayer for her, for me, for all of us because watching someone you love destroy themselves is the worst pain I’ve ever felt.

    • CC,

      Well, if my post brought tears to your eyes, your comment brought tears to MY eyes. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this and it especially hits me harder to hear your story since our daughters are the same age.

      I admire you for not sticking your head in the sand as some parents are tempted to do with an eating disorder, and instead you are actively getting help for her.

      I had never thought of it before, what you said about it being easier for her to have a problem with drug/alcohol problem because food is everywhere! That is so true and it can have such a powerful hold.

      I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing your heartache here; I will be praying.

      Grace to you and your family.

    • Lisa from Georgia February 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      CC,
      Eating disorders are more about control than about eating and food. I have worked with many girls (and a boy or two) with an eating disorder, and I usually find that the problem is rooted in them not feeling like they have enough control in their lives. Their bodies are something they can control– be it with weight, promiscuity, or even tattoos and piercings. Unfortunately, like you said, food is a necessity and that is where she is asserting her control. I pray that your precious daughter can experience the control she needs and that she will see that she is made in God’s perfect image.

  28. What a precious post Becky, and you are right, you can do all the right things and still have a child who will stray, as my son did at age 16. When he was a baby I cross stitched a Bible verse with a train on it for his room, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. I found that to be so true, it took him a while, but he did come back and he came back stronger than ever. Were we perfect parents, absolutely not! But when he got in to trouble, we didn’t try to buy him out of it either. He owned up to what he did and came out better for it. He is now a wonderful father, husband and son and active in our church and he and his sister are closer than ever. Sometimes teenagers just need a little tough love, no matter how hard it it for us. I am so proud of the Christian man he has become, not because of anything that we did, but because of what God did in his heart as a 12 year old boy. He never forgot it, he strayed, but always remembered. Thank you for the post today.
    Gail

    • Gail,

      Such wisdom in what you said about not “buying your son out of trouble.” It’s a tough thing to do, to see our kids reap the consequences of their own actions, but if we remove the consequences too soon or too easily, it’s not a very good learning experience for them

      Your ending words are wonderful, “He strayed, but always remembered.” I hope that’s an encouragement to other parents who are reading.

  29. Wonderful post.

    • Angie,

      Thanks. It wasn’t an easy post to write but I feel the pain of so many hurting parents and wanted to do something in some small way to encourage them.

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