Were Your Parents Proud Of You?


Are they still?

I’m sure the answer is yes, unless you’re Christina Crawford.

But we often convince ourselves that our parents weren’t really supportive of us because it’s easier to fall into a self-victimizing frame of mind that plays into our I-wasn’t-loved-enough-as-a-child shtick.

We lose sight of the glimmers of their pride because saying “I got no validation whatsoever” makes for a better story, gets more attention from friends, and justifies all your continuing screwups and sourness.

Well, it’s worth rummaging through your memory bank for some Hallmark moments that will dispel those horrid thoughts, at least until the paranoia returns.

Just recently, I remembered that my father would explode with sheer glee every time we got a notice in the mail saying that I had been named to the dean’s list at Columbia.

To me, it wasn’t much of an achievement — a lot of students got those mailings, and I honestly didn’t feel I was doing as well as I could — but Dad lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw the dean’s signature on a letter about how I was excelling at my studies.

He would go on and on about how much it meant that I had landed on the dean’s list, as if I’d cured cancer and won the Pulitzer Prize every single semester.

He was so proud! And it made me feel so good about myself — and about our relationship!

Does that make up for the time he cheated to beat me at cards?