Pride is something I’ve never really been comfortable with. To me it’s a little too close to vanity for my liking. When I speak of my achievements it’s always in a self-deprecating manner, doing my very best to imply that I’m no big deal. Asking me to write my bio or resume is tantamount to asking me to walk naked through the mall. So awkward. I always wish people just knew that I was capable of this or that without me having to say “Look at me”. Anyway, I tell you all this to say that prior to having children I never really “got” pride. It never seemed like a quality I wanted to possess.
When my oldest daughter came home from school in September with an award recognizing her for being inclusive I knew what pride was. A social butterfly from the very beginning she is kind, funny and fair. Morgan always makes sure every kid in the room is happy. If there’s someone sitting alone, they won’t be for long if Morgan’s there. So it really shouldn’t have been surprising that she won this award, except it was. Very surprising. Morgan had just moved to a new school. She was removed from her peers and placed in a completely new environment in Grade 3. She had every right to take some time, find her bearings, look for others to include her. But no, not Morgan, she went about making sure the kids who’d been there all along felt included. She’d been there a grand total of three weeks. I couldn’t have been prouder if she came home and announced she’d just earned a PhD at the age of 7.
When my youngest announced she wanted to go to camp this summer with her sister, I thought for sure she’d be coming back in the car with me the first day. After all, Ava is the kid who is timid in crowds, is always close by, wary of strangers and still manages to sleep with us almost every night despite my objections to co-sleeping (as you can tell I’m a rock). Not wanting to crush her new found confidence, I agreed, even though I thought she’d never actually go through with it.
When she said goodbye to us without so much as a tear in her eye, I was stunned and proud. I cried on the way back to the car. The first night came and went and no phone call. I was stunned and proud. The week went by, fast at first and then way too slowly at the end. Saturday morning we raced up to retrieve them, half expecting my youngest to be a mess after a full week away from us. When she saw us, she smiled and waved and didn’t rush into my arms as I expected. No, she stayed with her friends and made us wait. Again, stunned and proud.
The camp has a rodeo and we went to watch both our daughters show us what they had learned that week. On the way to the corral, my oldest showed me a bruise on her torso from where she had fallen off her horse two days prior. She had not been on a horse since. Morgan was clearly nervous about getting back on again. We watched on the sidelines, wondering if she’d find her courage. Her turn came and she dug deep, moved past her fear and rode that horse. Pride.
Then, much to our surprise and delight, Ava gets called up to receive the camper of the week award. Hello? Camper of the week is given to the camper who showed kindness to all, never quit, and was consistently outgoing. I dropped off a kid that was nervous in large groups, that clung just a little too tightly and who has just two very close friends. Did they get the right kid? Yes, yes they did. It’s possible I embarrassed myself a little shouting “That’s my girl!” but who cares, pride will do that to you.
I’ll always be pleased when my girls get A’s, do well in sports or achieve milestones. I’ll probably just keep it on the down low. Where I’ll really puff out my chest is when it comes to matters of the heart because I know that my children will leave this place better than when they entered it.