|Delilah and Grandma Bev, Thanksgiving 2010|
Photo by Grandma Laurel
As I watched my mother answering questions about the community outreach work she does with confidence and grace, I got a little bit choked up. I was confused by the emotion welling up in my chest and throat. What was this feeling bringing tears to my eyes as I watched my mother humbly explain a well-deserved recent award, crediting the trials of her childhood for her commitment to serving others, and explaining the value of diversity within her community?
It was pride. I was proud of my mother. It felt strange, not because she hasn't done many things to be proud of, but because I suppose I've been trained to think that proud is something that parents feel of their children, and not the other way around. When I called to let her know how impressed I was with the interview, I stumbled over whether or not to say "I'm proud of you, mom." Would it sound condescending, coming from her daughter?
That's when it occurred to me that one of my own missions as a parent is to be a mother who you can be proud of. I hope to follow her example of service to others and of accepting praise in a gracious and humble manner. I hope that one day, I'll get a phone call from you, my dear daughter, and that you won't be afraid to tell me you're proud of me, if you're moved to do so. My feeling of pride in my mother is evidence of parenting well done. It means that she did an effective job of instilling her values in me so well that I am able to recognize and honor them in others. I am proud to be her daughter, just as I am proud to be your mother, and just as I strive to live in such a way that one day, you too can say you are proud of your mother.