As a gay man, I'm well-versed in pride. We all talk about being proud. Proud to be gay, proud to be out, proud to be happy. I have always been proud, and so I'm used to it.
What I wasn't expecting when I had children was the immense and often overwhelming pride they would bring out in me. Isn't it amazing, as a dad, the new things you experience with your kids that make you proud? The sort of pride that you feel physically – a swelling of the heart, a spontaneous smile, or a sudden filling of the tear ducts.
Whatever the moment, it really stays with you. Now that our eldest son, Wil, is nearing the end of his first year at school, some of the moments of pride I experienced during the year have come back to me.
At Christmas, his role in the school play. He was a sheep. The best damn sheep there. The look of glee on his face throughout the entire show melted my heart. I struggled to maintain composure, determined not to be the dad who cried. I failed!
His walk to the local toy museum with his school. The feedback I got from the parent helper had me grinning from ear to ear. Apparently, he was well-behaved, polite, and full of fun. She then added what a lovely boy he was. That made my heart swell with pride. We think he's all those things, but for strangers to agree really brings it home.
Another first this year was Wil's school sports day. Now, he's not the fastest boy in class – far from it because he's the second youngest but tallest in his class, which leaves him with a tendency towards clumsiness. What filled me with pride this time was his sheer determination. He ran his little heart out and came in third place in the beanbag and spoon race! Regardless of whether he'd come first or last, the effort he put in had me screaming and shouting him along with pride.
As the school year draws to a close, we have just received Wil's first school report. It made me cry. The fact that he scored 'as expected' across the board academically is neither here nor there. It's the comments that had me blubbering. His teacher described him as: “Happy and friendly. A lovely, caring and sensible little boy who is a pleasure to teach.” The deputy head described him as “delightful, interesting and polite.” I'm extremely happy he's doing well academically; to me, it shows what a great job the school is doing. But what really makes me proud, to the point of bursting, is the beautiful, kind, caring, and fun boy we're raising, and the fact others can see it too. It makes me proud of us and the great job we're doing as dads.
So, embrace your pride: flaunt it, wallow in it. The many moments that you feel that swelling in your chest, the joyful tears in your eyes, or find yourself screaming along in pride. These are the real moments that show what a great job you're doing. Be proud of that.