Being proud of someone can hit you at the most random time. For a parent, it happens all the time. The first words, the first full day without a diaper, or the first time they become part of the jacket club at school. Little things are always happening that just put a smile on your face. Almost like a little reward to a parent for keeping these little complicated humans alive for another day.
It feels good, reminds you why you love them. On the worst days, it gives you that little boost you need to get you to the next day. Kids truly can keep you alive if you invest in them. I’m always excited and surprised by the next thing they do that makes me proud. I’ve never been someone who thought about not being here, but my kids cemented that for me a long time ago. I picture myself dancing at their weddings, or dancing like an idiot for my grandkids just like my father does now for mine. I picture my wife and I visiting them wherever their lives take them. I take a lot of pride in being here for them. It’s quite literally what keeps me on this planet.
The other day I got two “Proud Dad” moments in the same day. And the best part of these is I wasn’t expected them at all. Trying my hardest to not embarrass my kids, which I have been known to do a few times in my life I will explain what they did to fill my heart with pride. I like to be honest in the blogs, but the kids have to live their lives and the last thing they need is a Dad who spills all their secrets.
My youngest got into a fight with a few of her friends. She was reading me the messages they were sending, explaining her side of the story and telling me what she was going to do. As I like to do, I offered her advice. I told her to reach out to them individually, maybe apologize even though she knew she wasn’t wrong. Make peace, even if that means swallowing your pride a little bit. But, she has her own way of dealing with things like this. She told her friend that she is DONE. And she means it, she completely cuts off contact and ignores them. She is excellent at this. It amazes me, I try to be Mr. Kumbaya, everyone should get along type person, but she is “you burn me, I cut you off”. I talked to her a few times about this little fight, but she was set in her ways. And then a few days later, she shows me a text from her friend. The friend apologized for being a jerk, asked her to forgive her and told her she missed her as a friend. She smiled and text her back that she accepted her apology and she was sorry too and of course she wants to be friends again. I was FLOORED. I thought she lost a friend for life, but she was sticking to her beliefs and if her friend was smart she would come around, and if not, my daughter was able to cut someone out of her life that wasn’t really her friend. My daughter is such a strong person for handling that they way she did. She’s smarter and more mature than I thought. I was very proud of her for that.
I can’t really go into full details on my oldest daughters situation, because she reads these blogs and she will kill me if I did. I will just say this, I watched her sit in her feelings for like 24 hours. Every 30 minutes or so I would see tears, but she wasn’t ready to hear anything from Mr. Kumbaya. I knew it wasn’t my place, my dumb jokes or plan to get her mad at me so she forgets her pain weren’t going to work, so I stayed away. She was up most of the night and missed school the next day. She needed a day off, which I think is actually important for a kid. They work really hard, so taking a day off is smart for them. Then, around lunchtime, she showered, ate some lunch, started her homework and then headed to her dance class. She sat in her tears until she got them all out. I watched as she got picked up to go to dance class and just as she got down the street I let a little smile out. I got to see her work thru something all on her own. She didn’t need my help at all. She is a strong human.
I was beaming with pride that day. Getting to watch them both navigate through life, get thrown a few curve balls but handle them in their own way was such an amazing thing to see. They didn’t use anything I taught them. They didn’t need me for any of their issues. I wasn’t there to solve anything. I tried to talk to both of them a few times, but they both knew what they had to do. I don’t get to take any credit for how they handled themselves and that is what makes me the proudest. There was no life lesson I taught them that they used. This wasn’t me, or even their mom, this was them figuring shit out. This was them, handling things in their own way.
Fuck man, that was a great day in my house. I love being their Dad. I love being reminded that they will be just fine. These girls don’t need their Dad for everything. I get to just be proud of who they are. I get a front row seat to watch them grow. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I try my hardest to not take any of it for granted. They are good kids, my wife is a great mom, and I just get to sit and watch them grow. Damn it feels good to be here….