That was my exhausted thought as I drove my daughter home from swim team one night last week.
The whole day had been a battle.
I can’t even remember as I write this what the issues were, but it just seemed like everything was a challenge that day.
Maybe it was because we had a busy schedule and I was being impatient.
Or maybe it was because she’s almost eleven and she’s becoming more independent.
Whatever the reason, I was frustrated.
She was mad.
And it was one of those days.
So there we were, driving along, on the heels of an argument, and I was done.
I could almost hear her arms crossing in the back seat.
We were both quiet.
And in that silence, as we drove down the freeway, the sun setting in the distance, a thought came to me.
“You know what?” I said.
“What?” she answered, sulking.
“I just realized, even when we have our differences, you and I are still more the same than we are different.”
She didn’t say anything.
“And I think the fact that we disagree sometimes might be good.”
“Why?” Her voice softened.
(Was that the sound of her arms uncrossing?)
“Because I see your determination. You’ve got a strong will, and you can do a lot of great things with that in life.”
“Hmm,” was all she said.
We drove along, maybe another five minutes or so, and then …
“I love you.”
It took me by surprise.
I smiled in the darkness.
“I love you too.”
“Thank you for taking me to swim tonight.”
I got a lump in my throat.
And that one moment—that glimmer of sweetness in between the day’s bickering—reminded me that even though some days, parenting is hard, in the end, it’s still good.