Having children can be a rewarding experience, particularly as you watch them grow and evolve into their own people.
Today's burning question came from Redditor wtdoido, who asked the online community: "Parents, what was the moment when you felt the most proud of your child?"
"I went out and found him playing in the snow..."
There was a snowy day. I was working still in my office. I went into the living room where my son was supposed to be playing videogames and couldn't find him. I searched the house, no where.
I went out and found him playing in the snow (he was 5 or 6).
I said, "Oh buddy, please don't go outside without telling me, and please buddy, wait for me to finish my work and I'll come out and shovel and then you can play."
Then I looked closer, and noticed, he had his little shovel in his hands and was shoveling off part of the sidewalk and he said, "But daddy, if I shovel now there will be less for you to do when you are finished work."
"I went to meet my daughter..."
I went to meet my daughter after a concert and heard a group of kids hanging around outside talking about her.
Kid 1: I know the drummer in the band. Kid 2: Really? You know her? Kid 1: Yeah, we're friends. We were in the same English class, once. Kid 2: you liar!
At this point, my daughter is done getting packed up backstage so I go help her grab her gear. I tell her what I heard so we walk around the front of the building on our way out. She walks up to the girl (whose name she didn't remember anymore) and waves and gives her big "Hey! How's it going?!" The girl breaks into this huge smile, and as we leave, I can see all her friends huddled around her impressed by what just went down.
"I always feel proud of my children but..."
When my youngest daughter gave me all the money in her piggy bank to buy insulin for her friend because her parents couldn't afford it. I always feel proud of my children but for some reason that moment always stood out for me.
"I am a stepdad of two kids..."
I am a stepdad of two kids. It has not been easy, as their dad did not handle the breakup well and did everything in his power to get the kids not to like me (or their mother, for that matter). Over the last decade, it seems to have backfired and the kids see through his irrational, alienating tendencies.
The proudest moment I had was when I found out the daughter wanted to be a writer like me. It really means a lot, even if she doesn't end up writing. I will support her no matter what she wants to do.
Those kids are not my blood, but blood is blood and love is love. I feel I don't really need children of my own. So, cheers to all the step-parents out there!
"My son stood up to a bully..."
My son stood up to a bully recently even though he knew the outcome.
He got the sh*t kicked out of him, but after his defiance landed the bully in juvie, all the kids at his school started standing up for themselves more.
Love that kid.
"That night, when I was looking through her old baby pictures..."Giphy
I just took my 4 year old daughter to her Preschool Open House on Wednesday. It was really fun and I look forward to her starting school, but a small part of me was really sad that she's getting older. As I talked to her teacher and she took me through a regular day, I kept eyeballing my daughter playing with the other kids. It made me feel proud that she wasn't searching around the room looking for me. She was acting like a big kid.
When we made it back to the car, she gave me a big hug and said "thank you, Mommy." She has no idea that school is a mandatory part of life...so she just concluded that I had made the decision for her, and she was sincerely grateful. It made me happy to have such a thoughtful, little girl.
That night, when I was looking through her old baby pictures and watching old videos, (and looking shamelessly sad) she came up to me and said "don't worry... I'll always come home to you. You're a great Mommy."
I had to take a fake "potty break" to let some tears go... ah, that kid.
"Our daughter had wild and troubled teenage years..."
Our daughter had wild and troubled teenage years that led to some life-threatening situations and her dropping out of school. But over a few years, she found steady work, went back and finished school, got accepted to the highest-rated graphic-design program in the country, graduated with excellent grades, and is now working in the field. And, as a reference, something like 5% of people who get degrees in the arts ever work in their chosen discipline, and that includes teaching.
Actually, I'm proud of all my kids, they're strong individuals, all different and all independent and focused.
"Huh, I can read?"
I haven't been a parent very long (only 5 years) but the proudest I've felt is when she started reading. My kindergartener went into the school year only able to read her name and a couple sight words (a, and, the), which is normal. Around the holidays, she picked up a flyer sitting on our kitchen table and started reading it out loud. My wife and I shot each other a glance like "Are you seeing this?" Pretty soon she read the whole thing (it was some Christmas party for kids, so nothing difficult). Then she did the cutest thing. She looked off in the distance and goes "Huh. I can read?" Then put the flyer down and galloped out of the kitchen. My wife and I laughed and hugged and had a mini celebration.
We just ran into her teacher last week at the store and she said "Your daughter is reading at a level E now, which is about a year ahead of schedule." We're so f*ckin' proud of that little monkey.
"He's got a huge heart..."
My son is 8 years old. He's got a huge heart and he's so thoughtful. One day my wife had some nursing friends over to study for an exam and he set all kinds of snacks out for them. Then he went outside with an umbrella when he heard one of the girls was close to the house and just waited. When she arrived, he met her at her car and escorted her in. We never asked him to do that. Later around lunchtime I was upstairs watching tv and he brought his lunch up with two forks and wanted to share with me. It was his favorite kind of food too that he doesn't get to eat very often. I told him several times throughout the day how proud of him I am and what a good man he will become. I'm tearing up just typing this lol.
"When my son turned two..."
When my son turned two, someone got him some plastic tools to play with. One day soon after, he found a loose screw on one of our kitchen chairs. I watched him go get his plastic screw driver and try to fix it. The over sized screwdriver didn't fit the screw of course. After about a minute, he dropped the toy and pulled a box over to the kitchen cabinet to stand on, opened the drawer and pulled out a real screwdriver. He then proceeded to use the screwdriver to take the loose screw out of the chair, brought it to me and said "Daddy fix it?"
"We talked for weeks..."
Almost four years ago now I got hooked up with a girl on a blind date/group night out kind of thing which went pretty well. I soon found out that she was a new mom and had a 3mo old son. All of my friends gave me a really hard time about it, said I was stupid etc, but I decided to see this girl again knowing full well that this little boy was part of the package.
We talked for weeks and I finally decided to invite her and her son over to my place for a night. The next morning I decided to let her sleep in and see if I could take care of the poor little guy, I even googled how to change diapers, I kid you not. First diaper change went ok, and he even pee'd on me to show his appreciation.
Now it's more than 3 years later and he will soon be 4. He calls me dad and I consider him my son. One day we were getting groceries and he was riding in the cart saying 'Hello!' to everyone, I was so embarrassed because I am usually very shy but I was so proud that he was friendly to everyone. Sometimes when we go to restaurants complete strangers will come up to us and compliment us on what a good kid he is.
"And I held back some tears..."Giphy
My brother got married for the second time last year -- and his new wife asked my 13 year old daughter to be one of her bridesmaids. So I went with her, my brother, and his fiancée to the mall to find her a dress.
When she stepped out of the dressing room, I couldn't believe it. This kid. This child who I'd diapered, dressed, sang to, read to, comforted, played games with, laughed with... she was a grown woman. I saw in her the woman she would become, and she was beautiful. And I held back some tears as I told her that she looked great.
Fifteen minutes after we leave the store inside the mall, I'm relating this story to my brother and soon-to-be sis-in-law, and talking about how grown up she is, how it's all come and gone, she'll never be a kid again, and all that. My brother points behind us, about 100 yards down the mall concourse.
My "grown up" daughter is trying desperately to shove her 5'11" body into one of the quarter-operated carousel cars made for toddlers.
You can only be young once, kiddo, but you can be immature forever.
"My daughter didn't want to go to bed..."
My son is 5 and my daughter is 3. They sleep in separate bedrooms next to each other. They used to share a room until recently, and have been adjusting. My daughter didn't want to go to bed and was whining a bit in her room. I was on my way to check on her and I saw my son sitting on the edge of her bed. He was holding her hand. He leaned down and hugged her and kissed her. He said "I know you have to sleep alone now and you're scared but I'm just right there. It will be morning soon" and he walked out. I was amazed at his compassion for her. Super proud.
"He's usually reserved..."
I took my 15 year old son to India. He's usually reserved, and doesn't adapt well to change so I was concerned about the culture shock. He stepped so far out of his own self and truly engaged himself in everything we were fortunate to experience there. It was truly watching a boy become a man, And realize he's probably going to turn out to be a pretty cool man.
"After a few nights of zero sleep..."
I've got so many proud moments that I can't really pick one.
Recently, I've been absolutely amazed at my oldest son (6) at the simple fact that he can read and write and use his math skills. Its nothing special or unique I'm just proud that he's growing into his own and can express his ideas in more ways than just verbally.
Another moment that sticks out is not so much of a proud one as a heart warming one for myself is that I go to school full time and work; in general I'm hellish busy. After a few nights of zero sleep, I let my kids know on the way home that I was probably going to be a bit cranky and that it wasn't them at all, I just needed a good night of sleep. Well, when we got home the kids went into my younger son's room and I sat on the sofa to do more homework.
They were being awfully quiet and I was grateful. After a bit longer, My 5 year old came out asking for the vacuum. Now I'm curious, so I go to see what they were doing. They had cleaned their rooms. And I mean CLEANED. Shelves were dusted, toys organized- everything! They had also tidied up my room and made my bed! The next morning was Saturday and I slept in, when I woke up, I went to make coffee and realized that they even did the dishes for me :)
Considering at the ages 5 and 6, kids are so incredibly self absorbed- hell even as an adult I am, but this was so wonderfully sweet.
"The other day..."
The other day as I'm waiting outside the classroom to drop my daughter off at preschool we were looking at all the artwork from her class. Each kid has a picture on their assignment that matches the first letter of their first name. Tommy might have a turtle as his picture, for example. Over the course of the year, they dropped their names from their assignments and only left the picture in an effort to get the kids to associate pictures and letters.
In front of all the parents standing there, with only the pictures to go on, my daughter named every one of the kids' artworks by their name from memory of what their picture is. All the parents' mouths were agape.
"This is when a child becomes an adult..."
The moment when I was most proud of my children is when each of them chose to take responsibility for their actions and their lives.
This is when a child becomes an adult and many people never seem to cross this barrier. My children have done lots of other things that made me proud, but them choosing to be adults is definitely when I felt most proud of them.
"The older guy confronted my son..."
My son was 14 and playing (field) hockey for a men's team. It was getting heated and my son had run rings around one of the older guys.
The older guy confronted my son and said "You're a right little wanker aren't you?"
My son's response?
"Have you been watching?"
"She was at the church..."
I'm not sure this counts, but I have an objectively cute baby who smiles a lot. She brings a lot of joy to strangers. Once I was in my church building and this elderly lady who didn't speak English well saw Baby Girl and came over to say hi. Baby Girl smiled like she does and this lady just broke down. She was at the church getting financial support and counseling for some hard stuff she had been going through (I gathered) and she kept calling my baby her angel. She was crying and smiling and took a picture of herself holding the baby and had me take a picture with my phone of her holding the baby and so on for like twenty minutes. I get that Baby Girl was just doing like she always do, but I was so proud that she had brought happiness into the life of someone going through a hard time.
It occurs to me that this is probably how owners of therapy dogs feel.
"He farted himself awake..."
He farted himself awake at the age of 2.
I knew then that he was truly my son.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.