Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The power of pride

Last night my father called to tell me that he was proud of me. In less than three weeks, I will have completed the work for my first university degree. He is proud that I have been able to set a goal and see it through. It’s not the first time he’s ever said it, I’m sure, but I don’t have a huge storage vault of these memories either.

I grew up feeling that I was a disappointment to both my parents. I heard a lot about the ways I was not what they had expected. They were careful to make regular statements of encouragement (and even, occasionally, pride) too, but the things that stuck were the words that told me I’d never amount to much if I didn’t ______(fill in the blank). That I had enormous potential, but no common sense and no initiative and no tolerance for adversity. I didn’t talk, walk, play, work, act or even breathe quite the way I was “supposed” to. No number of I-will-always-love-you-no-matter-what’s could ever erase that knowledge. I learned that I was defective.

I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression here. My parents are good people, loving people. They took care of my basic needs and were very indulgent in some ways. They did the very best they knew how. The only thing they couldn’t do was hide their disappointment. I’m sure they tried, but couldn’t make sense of how I could do some things very well and other, simpler things seemingly not at all. How could this not be volitional? There was no way of explaining the person I was that didn’t sound like excuses or lies.

Today was a good day. I felt both peaceful and confident, even through numerous errors and gaffes. Soon, I will graduate from college. My father is proud of me. I am forty-seven years old.


  1. comgratulations :)

    Ivan of athenivanidx

  2. I am so proud of you, too! Graduating from college is a huge feat at any age. I'm also glad your dad said this to you and that it made you feel good! You deserve that.

    Thank you also for being such a good reminder to me, a mom of an Aspie, to be positive.

    By the way, I "tagged" you at my new blog. I think you'll recognize me from the description there.

  3. I'm glad your father expressed that he was proud of you, to you. I'm also surprised. I thought you were much younger than me. I graduated at age 46 1/2. That was about 2 years ago.

    I had friends who told me they were proud of me. I guess I'm proud of it, I have my diploma framed on my bedroom wall and my certificate of membership of Psi Chi (the psychology national honor society) is framed below it.

    I'm impressed with what you have accomplished in the way of face to face advocacy and speaking to groups. I hope you will be able to get the credit and compensation your deserve for what you are doing.

  4. Wow. I'm proud of you, too. I'm also jealous that your dad called to tell you he was proud of you. My parents never did that.

    I hope you're proud of you, too. You're doing great things here.

    Warm regards,
    Michelle aka The Beartwinsmom

  5. Congrats, and I'm sure this will be the start of an outstanding career!

  6. CONGRATS!!! Graduating college is a big deal - only 15% of your high school graduating class goes on to get a degree.

    I just also want you to know that your willingness to share how things your parents did affected you - even if they didn't realize it - have impacted my relationship with my daughter.

    I try very very hard to make sure she knows how proud I am of her, and how happy I am of her, just like she is.

  7. You've accomplished something grand! May you have joy in the journey to come~

  8. Congrats from me too Bev. You deserve to be proud.

  9. Gratzie!

    (approaching the big four six here.)


  10. Congratulations on being almost-almost done with your studies!

  11. Congrats!!!

    Thank you for sharing this, it means a lot to me to hear your perspective. I am so thankful as a parent to be raising my son NOW and not 40 years ago...you have helped me to be a better parent.

  12. I think everyone wants to hear those words from their parents. We often don't tell those we love that we are proud of them and they are good people until it is too late. A good thing to remember for all of us. Letting those we know that we love them and are proud of them. It seems so simple and yet it is so hard for most people to say.

  13. Belated congrats!! Bev, as u know, I've been reading your blog chronologically. So I'm in a time warp somewhere in 2008. =P

    It took me a long time to graduate too. Full-time was way too much of a load for me. So I took about a couple of classes a semester and eventually I got that letter in the mail inviting me to a commencement ceremony.

    The secret is to stay engaged. Stay enrolled. Keep taking classes, even if it's one. Eventually it will happen. It's like the story of the tortoise and the rabbit.

    I couldn't do it like a rabbit but ppl like us eventually can graduate and that's a lot more than most ppl. So, there's reason to be proud.

    I'm glad your dad told u he was proud. :-)


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