As a parent, I am proud of all my kids, but I try not to "own" it too much. I worked hard to get Oldest Daughter her violin lessons, her expensive violin, send her to camps each summer, hire good teachers, but SHE had the innate talent, the inner drive, SHE has a passion for it. So I can't own it.
I realize so much of parenting is a crap shoot. You can't be with them 24/7. They are GOING to make bad decisions--and good ones. And you have to hope the combination of unconditional love, nagging, leading by example, prayer, kindess, talking, nagging (did I mention nagging), and the friends they choose, their experiences in school, all combine to create a reasonably wonderful person. Yet as a parent, you are ever aware--gun violence, drugs, underage drinking, sex . . . eating disorders, abusive relationships . . . it's all around them.
My moments of pride, yes, are when my kids win awards or honors--Older Son winning an award last year in Math class, Older Daughter being concertmistress of her orchestra, Baby Girl getting straight As, Demon Baby winning the award for Naughtiest Baby Ever in a Performance By a Two-Year-Old. But for me, my BIGGEST moments of pride, are when they do the right thing. When they show me how good they are as people and human beings.
Oldest Daughter said to me yesterday, "Remind me to make sandwiches on Tuesday." She said it out of the blue, and it was kind of a weird thing to say, so I answered, "Why? Are you getting hungry at school on Tuesday?"
Then the story came out. On Tuesday, EVERY Tuesday, downtown where she has rehearsals, she is approached by the same old woman and old man, homeless, begging for money. Homelessness is a big problem in Richmond. But she said she felt giving money maybe wasn't the best choice. So she decided that this Tuesday, she would bring them food.
It was all I could do to not cry. So then we talked, "What about blankets and sweaters, too?" It's cold this time of year here, and it's been rainy and snowy lately. So, on Tuesday, she will go off to rehearsal with a box of blankets, a soft pillow for a tired head, food, maybe hot soup . . .
And I will watch this kid, not a girl anymore, this woman, actually, put this stuff in her car. I will watch her drive away, this child of mine, and I will feel as proud as when she stands on stage and plays her Bruch Concerto.