She sat slightly slumped in the dining room chair. Her head hung a little too low, chin pointing to the floor. I knew what the problem was. Vikki had already brought me up to speed by text earlier that day.
“What’s up, Jess?” I asked anyway, wanting to hear it directly from her.
She spoke without looking up.
“I didn’t finish all my work today. I wasn’t the first one to finish like I said I might be.”
She meant her final assignments/tests of the school year. (Yeah, I can’t believe we are already here either.) I didn’t say anything, not wanting her to know…well, that I already knew.
“I didn’t want to tell you. Didn’t want you to be disappointed in me.”
My heart sunk.
Disappointed in her? Her final tests were not actually due until the next week. She was a whole week ahead of schedule!
How could I be disappointed in her? Why would I be disappointed in her? Doesn’t matter to me if she is first. As long as she does her best. I make it a point to tell my kids all the time:
-Give your best. That is all I ask. Give it your best shot. If you give your best you have a chance to be the best. Be your best!-
“Honey, I’m not disappointed in you. You will finish. It will be fine. Don’t worry.”
She smiled weakly and ran off to do whatever girls that are almost ten years old normally do.
Are you proud of your kids? Of course you are.
So am I. But I am not sure they feel it as much as I do. I hope their first thought isn’t that I will be disappointed in them. Ugh. That’s no good.
Think back a few years. Before you had kids of your own. Back when you were considered “the kid”. I know, some of you have to think waaaay back. 😁
Do you remember your parents being proud of you? How did you know?
Was it because they said, “I’m proud of you!”? Was it something they did? The sparkly look in their misty eyes? The cheesy ear-to-ear grin spread across their glowing faces? The firm pats on the back? The slight shoulder squeezes? The huge bear-like smothering hugs?
(Unfortunately, not everyone was blessed with the best of parents. I realize that. But if you are a parent now, you may want to keep reading…)
Since that day, I have been thinking. Do my kids know I are proud of them? Do they realize how much I treasure them? Do they know I love who they are, who they are becoming and who they will be? Do they understand the love and the pride I feel for them isn’t based on what they can do, nor on what they accomplish? It is solely based on one cold hard fact: They are mine.
You know, I’m not so sure they always know. I often worry that I bring way too much “Stern Daddy” and not nearly enough “Proud Daddy” or “Fun Daddy”. Of course, one can’t be all peaches and cream all the time. But neither do we have to Drill Sergeant Dads.
Hmmm. I definitely have some work to do.
The next day I got a text: Please call. Jessie has something to tell you.
So I did.
“Dad.” she whisper yelled, “I finished! I am all done!”
My heart swelled.
“Way to go, honey! I am proud of you!”
Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Now it is your turn. Tell them. Make sure they know.
Because knowing that Mom and Dad love and believe in them will carry them for more miles than you could possible know.
And we all know, to make it through life, we all need to be carried once in a while.