When I was in middle school, my dad would pick me up from school some days.

We lived close enough to the school for me to walk — though “close enough” depends on who you ask. A mile and a half doesn’t feel very close when you’re 12,  carrying a heavy backpack and already tired from having run a mile in gym class. I hated walking home.

At first, I was surprised when he would give me a ride home, but then it became part of our routine. I knew I could count on him for a ride home on days that were too hot, or too cold or when I had too many tests.

I didn’t realize how much it meant to me at the time — that my dad had noticed I hated walking home and wanted to give me a break from it. Those rides always made my day a little better and gave us time to talk, even if my side of the conversation was just saying “meh” when he asked about my day.

I can think of moments my parents really showed up for me — like helping me decide what to do after high school and teaching me how to drive.

Although, if you asked me what they did that strengthened our connections the most, it was the little things — like rides home from school, help with homework, letting me pick what we’d have for family dinner, asking what I was reading and encouraging me to stand up for myself when I thought a teacher was unfair.

The big things were great — I still appreciate them — but it was the small, everyday actions that showed me they cared and were there for me. No one moment felt that important, but together they formed a strong foundation for me to grow from. The little things my parents did built trust and made space for me to ask when I needed support or advice. It was their help that taught me how to solve problems that seem overwhelming and to advocate for myself. Just knowing I had them in my corner helped me overcome challenges and keep pushing myself.

It didn’t take a lot for my parents to build a strong, supportive connection with me.It just took a little bit, every day.

Lindsey Kenyon

Lindsey is a writer, analyst and advocate who loves research and is passionate about peer education and sexual health. She recently graduated from CU Boulder.