My daughter won third place in her class at the Science Fair today. I'm so very proud of her!
I had taken my son to karate class while my husband went to attend the award ceremony at her school science fair.
He brought her by the class to tell me that she won third place! I hugged her tight and kissed the top of her head and told her I was so proud of her!
Meanwhile, my husband made jokes like, "When they announced that she won third place, I felt this really strange sensation, almost like an emotion or feeling or some kind, I'm not sure what that was... do you know?" "Pride!" she said, smiling. "Hmmm," he said, "yeah, maybe so.... or indigestion, maybe. It was strange, anyway." Or, later, "Well, that's ok, kiddo, maybe next year you can win first place."
* * *
Then later, my daughter came to me crying and said she was sad because when she told me about winning third prize at the science fair, I didn't tell her I was proud of her.
What? How do I get blamed for being the one who didn't say "I'm proud of you," when it's my doofus husband who is the constant joke machine and can never simply say, "I'm proud," or "I'm happy," or "Wow, great job!" Does it need the jokes and humor to even be heard? Am I going about this all wrong? Or were my direct and honest words simply drowned out in the sea of sarcastic jokes?
Save that for later analysis; it just doesn't matter when your kid is crying. I hugged her and told her I'm very proud of her. I told her that I did tell her before that I was proud of her but that I could understand if she didn't hear me - maybe I had hugged her too tight and blocked her ears or something, but anyway even if she didn't hear it or even if I didn't say it loud enough, I felt it, I'll say it again and again until she has heard it enough times, and I still mean it. I am proud of her.
She worked hard on that project. She did it all herself, and it was an actual experiment, and she worked hard to calculate and graph the results properly. I am proud of the effort she put in, proud of the fact that the final project looked great and was well-written, and yes, proud of the fact that she won a prize.
I hope she knows that now. I hope it sunk in. I hope she remembers it.
Next time, I'll have to say it louder, and more often.
Or maybe just more sarcastically?