We were walking into my daughter’s annual physical examination and as we entered the building she said, “Mom, please don’t brag about me to the doctor.”
My girl knows that any chance I get, I love to brag about her. When anyone asks how my daughter is doing, I love to tell them about the incredible things she’s accomplished and how proud I am of her.
I love to tell people how proud I am of my daughter
I’m that mom who will jump at the chance to share how remarkable she is, how hard she works, and what an amazing person she is turning out to be. And I know it can embarrass her, so I’m aware of this and do my best to simmer down when she’s around.
In the doctor’s office, I try to stay silent, biting my tongue, as my girl shyly attempts to share what her plans are for the coming year, humbly touching on a few things with little detail and it’s killing me not to jump in and expand on it all. But I don’t. I wait patiently knowing she wants to be in control and not make this a big deal.
To me, it’s ALL a big deal. It’s a BIG year with her graduation from high school ahead and two mission trips planned before she heads off to her dream college. She’s worked so hard to make it all happen.
She has BIG dreams and she’s built a life around them, making each one come true. To me, that is cause for celebration and I want to jump up and down and cheer her on, applauding it all, as her mom. When she stops filling in the doctor about her plans, I can’t help but add just a few more amazing parts to her story.
I love to add detail to my daughter’s story
“Cass didn’t want me to brag about her, but…”
I continued with some highlights she didn’t mention and dove a little deeper, detailing her abbreviated descriptions, articulating the enormity of her goals and all she has done to pursue them. I’m sure the doctor was thinking, “She’s that mom.” And I could almost feel my daughter’s discomfort and hear the inescapable sigh that was probably swelling up to her throat. I’m sure she was thinking, “There she goes again. Ugh. This is so embarrassing.”
As we were walking out of the office, I apologized for stepping in and “bragging” about her. I told her I just couldn’t help myself because I was so proud of everything she’s done and is planning to do.
“It’s okay mom.” She shrugged it off in her gracious way and we parted in our own cars as she headed off to work.
A few hours later, I received a text from my girl.
“I love you so much mom. Thanks for being so proud of me!”
Sometimes I embarrass my teens
And there it was. Confirmation to me, that although I might sometimes embarrass my kids with my excitement and pride and joy in them, they also appreciate it.
My son, a freshman, won his first wrestling match at his first high school meet and although I couldn’t cheer him on in person, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I watched the live video stream. Afterward, I immediately texted him in all caps:
“OMG, YOU PINNED HIM IN 20 SECONDS? YOU ARE A BEAST!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!”
He replied, “Thanks, mom.”
I couldn’t wait to see him walk through the door of our home, so I could show him my excitement and celebrate such an incredible win. As soon as he did, I squealed with my hands up in the air and poured my praise on him, to which he smiled sheepishly and said, “I just knew you would do that.”
I’m my kids’ biggest cheerleader, and even though they find it awkward and annoying at times, I want them to know how proud and excited I am for their success.
But don’t be misled to think that I’m that mom who thinks my kids are perfect.
They aren’t perfect by any means.
I brag about them but I also call them out when they fall short
Although I’m the first to brag about my kids, I’m also the first to call them out on things they fall short on. Through the years of parenting them, there have been many of those things.
I am brutally honest and point out when they can do better, try harder, or change their ways. I always hold them accountable when they make mistakes, and challenge them to take responsibility every time.
These are the years they are learning so much and it’s my job to steer them in the right direction, help them hone in on new skills, and mature in new ways. And there are some rocky roads they endure, full of bad choices and slips and fumbles along the way.
There are challenges they face where they need me to gently push them to find the courage to do the right thing. There are conflicts they confront that might need a hefty amount of hearing the hard truth.
I will tell them what I see when they can’t see it for themselves and help them learn how to pick themselves up after they fall. I will acknowledge those areas they need to improve and walk with them through the arduous journey of transforming into a better version of themselves.
I want to guide them through it all — and the tough parts often make way for the greatest triumphs- it’s often a long hard road they’ve traveled to get there. And THIS is why I celebrate their victories and embrace their accomplishments because there is a complicated story behind each one.
I’m not only praising their victories; I am affirming the difficult path they paved to get there. That’s what makes these highlights in their lives so extraordinary and my joy so extravagant.
So even though I sometimes go a little too far in boasting about my kids, I hope they soak it all in and it fuels them to keep trying, keep reaching for their goals, keep working hard to get where they want to go, and be who they want to be. I want more than anything for them to understand in a very deep and meaningful way, that their mom believes in them and will celebrate with cheers and tears, with immense pride and joy, every small or large victory. I hold their history in my hands when I raise them up in praise.
I hope my teens remember my enthusiasm for their successes
When my kids are older, I imagine they will look back on these years and reflect on all the times “Mom was always so crazy, bragging about us. Remember when she got so excited about everything? Man, that was so embarrassing and annoying.” I hope that all my dramatic antics and over-the-top excitement when they shined, are the memories they remember most.
I hope they realize they had love and support from me through it all.
I’m sure when they are grown and on their own, I will continue to brag and boast and squeal with delight, over every amazing thing they do, and I’m sure they will still be embarrassed and uncomfortable with my excitement in celebrating them.
But maybe they will have realized that it’s pretty nice having a mom who is their biggest fan and will do just about anything to show up and cheer for them any chance I can.