I wasn't blogging a whole lot at the beginning of the summer, so I missed writing about two very important events in the life of the Grass Widow household: One graduated from elementary school and both boys became black belts in taekwondo. All in one whirlwind week - it was quite a show. Watching both events filled me with pride and happiness. So much happiness that, in fact, toward the end of the graduation ceremony I realized my face hurt --- I'd been smiling non-stop the entire time. One was so handsome in his eagerly requested coat and tie, Two almost behaved himself, and the whole auditorium was filled with smiles and hugs and shouts of laughter. I thought it was amazing.
And then I watched my children work harder than I ever imagine they could, and achieve something that not many achieve. And my perspective on the two events changed a bit.
Because as happy as I was for One at that graduation, let's face it: everyone (in the first world, anyway) graduates from the 5th grade. Yes, he worked hard and had challenges, but it wasn't Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard, for Heaven's sake. It was a happy, fun elementary school graduation, capped off by ice cream. It was a moment to savor and be proud of, but it wasn't truly an accomplishment.
I say that not to be mean, but to point out the difference between how we feel when we have to do something and how we feel when we choose to do something. You have to go to 5th grade, or the homeschool equivalent thereof. You don't have to play on an all-star baseball team, or dance on stage in a ballet in front of 100's of people, or earn a black belt in martial arts in less than 3 years. So when you do, it is sweet. It is a victory. And from a parent's perspective, it feels so much different from any other parenting experience I can hardly explain it. It's not just a sense of pride, of "hey, that's MY KID". It's more like you're impressed with them, because they are people in their own right who make sacrifices and work hard even when they don't want to and don't give up. They are people who make it. I was proud of the boys, but even more than that, they impressed me. Not in a shallow way, but in the sense that I was honored to have been a part of helping them get there - I was proud not because they were mine, but because I was theirs. They did the work, I didn't, but they let me share in the glory of it.
It's exhilarating stuff, this parent thing. Watch out, world: these boys are coming!