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.

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.

36 comments

  1. Sherry - December 26, 2018 6:41 am

    This is the year we all should give and receive pats on our backs….and we should give them, too! Sometimes “paying it forward” means letting a friend or a stranger know “they did good and you appreciate their help and effort”. You can change a person’s life by just taking the time to show appreciation. My favorite gifts from students are the cards and letters they give just letting me know they appreciated how hard I worked to help them. That makes the hours worth it!

    Reply
  2. Dolores S. Fort - December 26, 2018 6:49 am

    I am proud of you, Sean. Of the way you have grown within yourself, how you make others feel important, and how you raise each of us up every day with your wonderful stories. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. cobernjudymsncom - December 26, 2018 7:03 am

    Perhaps, I Love this one the Most….. Your a “good man, Charlie Brown”.

    Reply
  4. Connie Havard Ryland - December 26, 2018 8:38 am

    And I’m proud of you Sean. For not giving up even when life was hard. For reaching out and inviting us all into your life and the lives of the people you talk to. For having the courage to get on stages everywhere and talk and sing. Thank you and God bless you always.

    Reply
  5. Nancy Brown - December 26, 2018 11:30 am

    Yes, Sean You can write,and you are extremely good at it. To realize the beauty and uniqueness in ourselves and those around us is a joyful thing.

    Reply
  6. Janet Holliday - December 26, 2018 12:37 pm

    Funny how you just seem to be spot on in your writings to so many of us. I put meeting you on my bucket list….I am proud to be on your list to receive your writings. Thank you for all you give to so many….I am proud of you! Blessings!

    Reply
  7. Laura Martin - December 26, 2018 12:50 pm

    Thank you for being a voice of kindness and compassion in this hard hearted time of verbal confrontation and attack.
    Thank you for writing so beautifully about
    an area ( Destin, Choctahatchee Bay Area) that I have loved since I was a little girl.
    I am 64 and getting out on the that water (whether harbor,ocean or bay) is still my favorite thing to do.
    Merry Christmas

    Reply
  8. Delynn Roberts - December 26, 2018 1:20 pm

    Sean,
    I’m proud of you & for taking a step & a chance to push through (with your wife’s help) to get your GED. Im proud of you & your wife for traveling & taking your stories, goodness & kind words to all who need to here it. I’m proud of all those who encouraged you to write stories , blogs & books. I’m proud of you for forgiving your dad. I’m proud of you for being an awesome son. I’m proud of you & your wife for getting new dogs after your heart was broken.

    Merry Christmas to y’all,
    Delynn

    Reply
  9. 4Dees - December 26, 2018 1:29 pm

    And, I’m proud of you Sean and what you’ve done with your life. And, proud of the lives you’ve impacted and touched through your column. You are the sunshine for many lives every day………..Proud of you, Sean!!

    Reply
  10. Rhonda - December 26, 2018 1:41 pm

    Be sure. You can write. I wish you could hear your gift from over here.

    Reply
  11. Jo Ann - December 26, 2018 1:47 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I’m proud of me, & I’m proud of you, too.

    Reply
  12. Jean - December 26, 2018 1:48 pm

    A friend shared the video of you singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and it was the happiest moment of my Christmas Day. Thank you, Sean, and thank you Kay!

    Reply
  13. Brant Riley - December 26, 2018 2:00 pm

    Sean
    This is a very thoughtful article. Thank you and I hope you and your family have a happy and blessed New Year.
    Brant

    Reply
  14. Jess in Athens, GA - December 26, 2018 2:21 pm

    And a lot of folks are really proud of you, Sean, for the way you write and for the special way you make so many people feel good about themselves. We’re proud of you and want you to keep writing for decades to come! And we love you a whole bunch too.

    Reply
  15. Iva Wimp - December 26, 2018 2:25 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for an opportunity everyday to read what you have written to make our day better and to remind us to make someone else’s day better too.

    Reply
  16. Peggy Savage - December 26, 2018 2:49 pm

    Thank you, Sean..

    Reply
  17. Alice - December 26, 2018 3:11 pm

    Thank you Sean I love you❤️

    Reply
  18. Shelton A. - December 26, 2018 3:30 pm

    Thank you, Sean. You make my day so many days….be proud of yourself, too.

    Reply
  19. Robert - December 26, 2018 3:31 pm

    I am thankful for you who uplifts all of US. I am thankful to the person who introduced you to me this past year. I read your column everyday now. It is ok to be proud of yourself also. God Bless rsk

    Reply
  20. K - December 26, 2018 4:03 pm

    We are proud of you, too, Sean! Proud that you overcame things in your past. Proud that you have discovered that God created you with the gift of telling stories and with the gift of encouragement. Also the gift of being able to see people — not just as trees walking, but as someone worthy of really noticing and caring about. Sometimes we draw conclusions about ourselves when we are young that are not really true (because we lack life experience) and carry them with us as adults. You are truly a gift from God to so many people. Thank you for your blogs!

    Reply
  21. MermaidGrammy - December 26, 2018 4:18 pm

    How about you start with yourself? You have so much to be proud of (I bet you know I just left a participle dangling. Be proud of that!!). And, in a few days, start the New Year knowing this: we can’t appreciate the beauty and joy of life without experiencing some of the ugliness and pain. You’ve felt it all. Now, wallow in the good. Adopt a child

    Reply
  22. Melanie - December 26, 2018 4:25 pm

    Thank you Sean. <3

    Reply
  23. Helen in Ark. - December 26, 2018 4:57 pm

    i needed this today. And I want to say, I am proud of you and YOU can write.

    Reply
  24. Edna B. - December 26, 2018 5:02 pm

    Sean, I’m so very proud of you too. Your stories everyday are sunshine to me. Between your stories and my little dog Pogo, I’m a very happy old camper. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  25. Ruthann Carson - December 26, 2018 5:29 pm

    Thank you for this, today, when I most needed it.

    Reply
  26. Pamela McEachern - December 26, 2018 5:41 pm

    Sean I am proud of the way you nudge us all the be better to ourselves and other people in your own caring style. I hope you take all of the wonderful things people say about your writing to heart, you have made a difference in my life.

    When I end my comments with Peace and Love from Birmingham, know that it comes from my heart. 🙏

    Reply
  27. Barbara S - December 26, 2018 7:27 pm

    Thank you Sean for reminding us all how important it is to support one another now and always!
    Barbara
    S

    Reply
  28. Andy Schulze - December 26, 2018 8:13 pm

    Sean, I’m proud of you! For not giving up and writing. I live it. My wife has been following you for sometime now. Many times she forwards your blog to me and the other times she talks about them during a meal. I told her I love to hear your stories. The other day, she said “why don’t you subscribe and get Sean’s post for yoursel. I did and so glad I did. Your stories have spoken to my heart and have been just what I needed to hear, as if you have been a fly on my wall. So I am writing to tell you I am proud of you and look forward to each morning’s post. Thank you!
    Andy

    Reply
  29. Paul Chisolm - December 26, 2018 9:00 pm

    What a following you have Sean! I talk to people all the time (some complete strangers) who read your work and learn to love daily. Thank you so much for who you are!

    Reply
  30. Marinan Brewer - December 26, 2018 9:31 pm

    Let me just tell u Sean,.!
    Those are special writings of late,!
    Please keep it up,!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family plus se for new years”eve!

    Reply
  31. Jack Darnell - December 27, 2018 2:12 am

    Okay dude, I forwarded this to my wife and Evelyn. To tell them I am proud of them for putting up with me. Also that they are nice to Don, Evelyn’s husband he is very old almost as old as me. just sayin’ as my grands say.

    Good post…. .

    Reply
  32. Martha D Laska - December 27, 2018 3:44 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  33. Linda Chapman - December 27, 2018 6:10 am

    And I am enormously proud of YOU!

    Reply
  34. Mary Lee Morris - December 27, 2018 9:48 pm

    Everyone should read this every day. Thank you, Sean for being you.

    Reply
  35. Sandra Smith - January 3, 2019 4:37 am

    Thanks Sean
    I needed this !
    Happy New Year !!!

    Reply
  36. Angie Houston - January 21, 2019 4:38 pm

    I am reading your blog recently discovered while sitting in the hospital with my 2 year old daughter. She was recently diagnosed with pneumonia and RSV and is laying in my lap with an iv and oxygen mask on. I needed this so much you have no idea. Thank you for being you.

    Reply

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