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Pride and joy

in Life Lessons, Parenting

Photo by boogy_man on

Photo by boogy_man on

I have a list of encouraging proclamations that I repeat to my kids on a regular basis. “You did great!” “That was amazing!” “How did you get to be so smart/strong/fast?”

I love giving them that  self-esteem boost, and the smiles that I get in return are priceless. But what surprises me is that even in my mid-30s, hearing things like that from MY parents still gives me the warm fuzzies.

This past weekend I attended my first writer’s conference, which included my first one-on-one pitches with agents. I have the email interactions down pat, but actually pitching to a professional face-to-face is a bit nerve-wracking for a newbie. I’m comfortable with public speaking, I’m outgoing with strangers, and I’m happy with my novel, but to sell my manuscript to a stranger and convince them (in a 2 minute pitch!) that my book is worth their time… that’s a challenge to say the least.

My husband was on an airplane literally to the other side of the world, so I was texting a couple of my girl friends and occasionally my mom.

My friends have been watching my journey and knew that I was taking my writing career seriously and that I have been making a name for myself for about a year now. I didn’t share a lot of the smaller successes with my folks because I didn’t have a contract yet and I didn’t want to disappoint them.

Even when I published The Roberson Ladies stories, I didn’t tell my family. Honestly, I feared them not liking it. But shortly after it went live, I visited my hometown and discovered that several family members had already read it. The more encouragement I received, the more hopeful I grew.

But I still worried. Whine and Wine has a heavy backstory of porn. It’s not Fifty Shades by any stretch of the imagination, but it does tackle some porn issues head-on. Would my folks be able to handle that? Would a love scene make me lose my “Daddy’s Little Girl” title?

After my first successful pitch at the writer’s conference, I texted my mom that the agent wanted to see my manuscript. When I received an encouraging reply, I realized that my parents really did see that I was on my way to fulfilling my dreams. I was no longer a small town girl with a big idea. I was an author.

I’m sure a psychologist would have fun with the idea that I still like my parents’ validation, but I don’t think there is anything odd about wanting your parents to be proud of you. I want to bring joy to their lives; to give back for all that they’ve done for me. That certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy with my career unless I’m pleasing them; it simply means that knowing that they are proud of me adds to my happiness.

Then it hit me: If their support still means that much to me as an adult, how much more does my encouragement mean to my young kids? I want my kids to know that whether they are working as a greeter at Walmart, moving up the ranks of a Fortune 500 company, writing novels, playing music, teaching, or practicing medicine, if they’re living their dream, I’m proud of them. I don’t want the fear of my disappointment to ever hold them back.

As parents we don’t always have to understand our kids’ dreams, we just have to be supportive of them so they always know they have someone in their corner. I’m beginning to understand just how important that level of support is.

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Are you your parents’ pride and joy?

Raising kids to fulfill their dreams

It’s amazing how far a little encouragement can go!

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