This week I had the privilege of participating in a two day conference for school. My first year I was just a spectator. My second year I presented. This year, my third, I presented again, and brought students with me for a different showcase each day.
As I stood back and watched my 8-10 year-olds present their learning to hundreds of complete strangers, I couldn't help but tear up. I was (and am!) SO proud of them. I stood back with their parents and watched my students explain and share things that kids twice their age don't yet know how to do. And when we packed up each day, I told each student how proud I was of them. I was proud of how well they spoke, how they were-risk takers, how they remained focused on the task, the list could go on. A total of 10 students came, five each day, and each and every one of them made me proud. The last thing I told them? That not only was I proud of them, but that they should be proud of themselves, too.
Kinda funny, the way things work.
This week, with the chaos of the conference, and the chaos with my head and my belly, following my meal plan was not easy. I got less than 6 hours of sleep each night as my schedule had me on the go for what felt like 48 hours straight. I was away from home, which limited my food choices. It was not easy. Yes, I was enjoying the energy of the conference, but I felt completely depleted by the time I got home.
Last night, I sent my usual wrap up email to my dietitian, and outlined the chaos of the day, sharing how freaking exhausted I was, and how amazing my students did. Her reply?
"So proud of you!"
I am always telling different students I'm proud of them. They all are working at accomplishing different tasks, and when they reach one? I'm beaming with pride.
Yet. When someone says they're proud of me? It's totally foreign.
When I was growing up, and to be honest, to this day, when my parents said they were proud of me, it always came with a big, annoying, "but." That "but" over-rode whatever the point of pride was. Didn't matter how good it was, there was always that "but" that meant it wasn't good enough.
So when my dietitian said she was proud of me? I cried a little.
And when a colleague who was at the conference with me today said that she was proud of me? I cried a little more.
I'm not used to people telling me they're proud of me.
It happens once in a blue moon.
It's really hard to hear.
And hearing it twice in 24 hours was too much for me.
I mean, I would hope that as an adult, I wouldn't need to hear "I'm proud of you," from others. I would hope that I could just be proud of myself, regardless of what others say or think. That's why I tell my kids they should be proud of themselves, so hopefully, they'll start internalizing that, and not rely on others to develop their self worth.
If only I could follow my own example.
For now...... I've saved the email my dietitian sent. I've read it a dozen times today. I'm sure I'll read it a dozen times tomorrow, and frequently in the days that follow. It may only be four words long, but......