These things hit me now, especially as my kids get older and the work changes.
My Dad moved mountains for me. Networked and researched where I should get my first job (Pine Run Retirement Community-paid $5 over minimum wage with short, regular shifts), pushed in a savvy non-pushy way for me to get a life changing internship at Woman's Day magazine (taking messages from the editor and HR while slipping in some facts that sealed my employment), brought home research papers to edit (one of his guard colleagues was getting his PhD in Egpytian history. I was his editor), gave me my first nest egg so I could move to Vermont for my first post-college job, taught me how to buy a suit and gave me lessons in advocacy when it came to managing my brother's education.
That man proofread every single college application and essay, while I rolled my eyes and scouffed, but still took his suggestions. It wasn't that he paid for college (he did, mostly); it was that he literally made sure I saw the application process through, picking schools with opportunity and actually being admitted.
He also is the reason I met my husband and my best friend--he basically conned me into doing color guard--an activity I never, ever would have picked on my own. I remember he told me I needed to do more than Yearbook and Newspaper in high school; that I needed more diversity in my activities and he made a few calls and told me all about the practice schedule and season. He even called the band director to get the full intel on what I could expect.
My mom was there in the background, believing in me, fiercely.
I don't know if these are the things all parents do. But, my dad, who was in his 70s and 80s did this. He did all the things for me; so that someday I could do all the things for my children.
His support and endless efforts trying to advance me in jobs and career are such a gift. He pushed and leaned in--always to things that were my choice and then always left me to do the real work. I don't think I'd be anywhere without him.
I am privileged to be his daughter and even more, privileged now to understand just how much he did for me and be equipped to do the same things for my children.
And friends, doing things for your kids--networking and advocating and making calls and talking about them on their behalf--that is not making them lazy or overprivileged or spoiled. Proofreading their papers and studying with them is not doing the work for them.
It is teaching them how no one ever does anything alone; we succeed with the help of the people in our corner and once we do, we need to return the favor.
Doing things and advocating is the fierecest, most exhausting kind of love.