This extends to my kids. I love it when people like my kids or when they tell me they're doing well. I even feel a warm sense of pride when they're doing well developmentally. At doctor's appointments or parent teacher conferences, I'm thrilled to hear that they're behaving properly or even that they're doing the right things for their age and stage.
This is of course mostly because I want them to be happy successful people who can walk when their friends are walking, read when they're supposed to be reading and say the letter L properly. But there's a teensy part of me that feels an irrational sense of pride and accomplishment when my babies blow raspberries a month before it says "blows raspberries" on the chart as though their spit-acular accomplishments are a reflection of my worth.
I know it's ridiculous and unfounded and even detrimental to my and their happiness because what happens when they DON'T blow raspberries on time? Does that mean I'm a failure or that my child is a dud? Certainly not. And yet, I feel the pride when they're ahead of the curve.
This week I took Laylee in for her 5-year-old checkup. The doctor asked her to copy some shapes on a paper, write her name and then draw a picture of her mom. I was excited. "She totally knows how to write her name – first AND last. The shape copying is kind of touch and go. But her picture of me will ROCK HIS WORLD! We've got this thing in the BAG!" I thought.
I read dinosaur stories to Magoo as she went to work on her little assignment but out of the corner of my eye I couldn't help watching her and cheering her on in my head. I wanted her to knock it out of the park and have the doctor blown away by her developmental greatness. And she did fine. He even used the magic words – Kindergarten Ready. I was pleased. I beamed with pride. I felt validated even while acknowledging that this had nothing to do with me.
Then came the hearing test. Not so good. Laylee's had a ton of ear infections in her short life and her hearing's not as strong as it should be. It worries me. I fret and wonder if I should somehow have taken better care of her ears, I'm not sure how. I don't want her to have any limits on how she experiences the world.
The hearing test was the wakeup call I needed. It reminded me that I just want her to be happy and healthy and feel good about herself. None of this has anything to do with me besides reminding me how much I love her.