When kids are tiny and new everyone can outwardly see the work taking care of them involves. They need everything. To be fed and bathed and wiped and loved. It is never ending really. And they watch everything you do remembering and memorizing the way you do it. From the moment they arrive you are their teacher in so many ways. As they grow and change the outward appearance of their need for you changes. They have learned to do all those monotonous things every day life calls for themselves. The thing that is hard to see or understand is that their need inside is still there. They don't need you to pick out their clothes or cut up their meat but they do need you to listen to them cry over not being invited or praise their outstanding game. They want to be told what time to come home and what language class to sign up for. The work of parenting isn't done. I would argue that it is probably never done. Learning to find the balance of respect and independence is a scary dance for them. All we can do is provide the music but we can't get out there and dance for them.
When I steal a sideways glace at my girls these days I see flashes of them as babies but also glimpses of me and of what they will be as women. I listen to theirvocabularies and the individual sense of humor I hear from each one and I know that so far I have done my job the best that I know how. They don't need me to tie their shoes anymore but they do need me to be present and participating. When you are rocking in that chair feeding the baby at midnight and thinking about how hard it is to make it through the day without sleep or a shower remember that those days are tough but may not be the toughest. When they are learning to ride a two wheeler and fall and skin their knee it is painful but probably not as bad as their first breakup or failing their driving exam. Parenting is a lifelong job with the highest level of commitment of any job out there. The good thing is that it also has a life time of huge payouts and bonus's. Love and creating a genuinely good person are two I can think of off the top of my head.