After I tuck her in and the giggles have turned into quietness and her eyelids are heavy with sleep, I whisper to my child the same thing almost every night, “I love you. You make me proud every day.”
I read this phrase in For One More Day by Mitch Albom years ago, a sentimental story in which the narrator recalls the notes his mother left him that always ended with that phrase. It stuck with me. The narrator questions whether or not he’s actually done anything to make his mother proud (and as a reader, it doesn’t seem like he’s done much to make her proud), but still, she tells him, “You make me proud every day.”
I love this concept. There will be times that my children, being people, will make mistakes that disappoint me or others. But they will make me proud every day.
Why I’m Proud of Her. Every. Day.
My daughter just turned three. I’ve heard the phrase “threenager” used to describe this age. I can certainly understand why people say it – sometimes the stubbornness and independence certainly does make me think that the teenage years will be quite a ride. But no matter how difficult any given day may be with the battle of wills, I still have to tell her when I tuck her in at night, “You make me proud every day.”
Her Confidence in Herself
Those times that I wish I could be more like my child are those times that she shows me her complete self-confidence in who she is and what she looks like. Times when, after I’ve dressed her, she looks in the mirror, giggles, and says, “I look cute, mama.” Yes, baby, you do. Grown women often do not do this – is it because our self-confidence has been diminished by society’s expectations? Oh, how I cherish this quality in my daughter and want to protect it.
I love that she dances without abandon when she hears her favorite song, not worried about what she looks like – she’s just having fun.
Or that she will confidently tell me many times that “she can do it herself” or that she wants to do something herself. She makes me so proud of her – every day.
Her Strong Will
While raising a child with a strong will can be seen as a challenge, I choose to see it as something to celebrate. Not too long ago, I tried to press her for an apology to her grandmother for acting up, and she stubbornly just looked away, a silent tear rolling down her cheek. Oh, little girl. How much we are alike! I remember being the same type of strong-willed child that you are!
And that strong will, which some may see as rebellion or something to be broken, is something I am very thankful for. That strong will is going to serve her well as she gets older. It will help her to stay true to herself when the peer pressure is strong. It will help her to negotiate for a raise one day when on the job and to fight for what is right without backing down. I am beyond proud of her strong will.
Her Love for Her Brother
This is one my favorite qualities about my daughter. She is the BEST big sister I could have ever imagined. I worried and fretted endlessly while I was pregnant with my son after reading many accounts of the oldest sibling growing sullen and resenting the baby. Anecdotes of children telling their parents “Can you take the baby back to the hospital? I don’t like him” sent fear through every fiber of my being. But, thankfully, I had no reason to fear – she loves him and tells him so multiple times a day. Many times I will look in the rear-view mirror and catch them holding hands across the backseat or giggling and smiling at each other. And it makes my heart swell with pride.
I could continue this list many times over. She’s smart, funny, caring, kind…
Of course she has bad days. I do too. She’s human the same as I am. Some days she has typical toddler meltdowns or tantrums that make me want to pull my hair out by the end of the day. And yet, even on those days, I still have lots that I am thankful for and proud of.