I’m going to say this now: I’m proud of you.
That’s it. You can stop reading here if you want. I know you’re busy. So take the kids to karate class, scrub your bathroom mirror, schedule a dentist appointment, wash your dog, live your life. Just know that I’m proud of you.
The thing is, I don’t think we tell each other how special we are. I don’t think people get enough handshakes, back-pats, or five-dollar beer pitchers.
So I’m proud of you. For not giving up. For eating breakfast. I’m proud of you for remembering to breathe. Really.
I’m also proud of Billy. He emailed me. He’s forty-nine. He’s been working in construction all his life, and he couldn’t read until three years ago.
His friend gave him reading lessons every morning on the ride to work. And on weekends. They practiced on lunch breaks.
Billy started with elementary school books. This year he read the Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes Stories.
He reads aloud sometimes, during lunch break to the fellas. He said he’s been practiced reading the same stories so many times, he’s almost memorized them.
I’m proud of Leona, who had the courage to check into addiction rehab last week. She’s a young woman, and she needs someone to be proud of her. So I guess I’ll have to do.
I’m proud of her aunt, too—who is helping to raise Leona’s daughter with Down’s syndrome.
And Michael, who just asked Jessica to marry him yesterday—on Christmas morning. He squatted down onto one knee in front of seventeen family members, one woman, and her three children.
He gave Jessica and each of her children a ring.
He said, “Will you be my everything, forever and always?”
Jessica’s oldest—Brooke, age 11—got so excited she blurted an answer before anyone else.
“YESYESYESYES!” Brooke said.
I’m proud of Boyd, who got his first job as an electrician. And Lawrence, for rescuing kittens he found on his hunting property.
I’m extra proud of Sylvia—who walked for the first time after her car accident. Physical therapists have been helping her ever since doctors amputated Sylvia’s left leg.
Last week, she was fitted with her first prosthetic.
Sylvia’s mother tells me, “I’m so proud of my daughter, she won’t quit fighting…”
If you’re still reading, I’m still proud of you. For the little and the big. For making toast without burning the house down. For telling your boss you won’t work weekends. For forgiving someone who hurt you.
You’re something else. You just forget sometimes. Maybe you’ve lost your mother, your father, son, daughter, grandparents, dog, cat, iguana, skateboard.
Maybe you’ve lost yourself.
Or maybe it’s been awhile since anyone kissed your forehead and reminded you of how damned incredible you are.
Well, I can’t rewind a wristwatch, and I can’t make magic. I wish I could, but I can’t do anything. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I can write.
But I can be proud of you, whether you feel it or not. And I am. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Whatever you face. You beat all. And I want you to know it.
That’s it. Have a nice day, and be nice to people.
You can start with yourself.