When Dad Says He's Proud.

The other night Stevie and I were having dinner out on the back porch. We didn't turn on any lights, so the table was aglow only by the filtered light coming in the screen from the setting sun. And by "having dinner" I mean we were eating yet another Amy's frozen pizza. Because lately I'm having a lot of days where cooking just seems like an enormous task along with staying on top of my wannabe-toddler. He's into everything and honestly, I find myself worn out by his energy at 8am. 8am people!

Sometimes I just can't.

But we were finally at the end of this particular evening, the baby was in bed, and we were enjoying a bit of wine. Whew. It was nice. We were exhausted. This house hunting thing has been more of a process than we had prepared for. We are so excited, but this particular evening, we were so wiped out.

Then my dad came out on the porch. Because, you know, we live in his house.

He sat down and said the nicest thing.

"You know, I don't worry about you two."

We smiled and nodded. My dad is such a funny, poignant, external processor. He kept going though.

"I like that you two are making your own decisions, and don't need advice from me all the time. You know I'm always here for you, and I like when you ask for my advice, but I like it even more that you don't have to ask for it anymore. Because you're adults and you're making good choices."

This statement really struck me. "You're adults and you make good choices." When did we stop going to our parents for everything and start believing that our choices are good choices? Because Stevie and I are both a little bit closer-to-homers, in the sense that we tell our parents a lot. In the 8 years of our marriage, we've had so many phone calls with both sets of parents, no matter what stage or phase or state we lived in, and we were always running things by them. Asking for their advice. Telling them what we were thinking about doing. And it's not like we've really, consciously, stopped doing that.

But I guess, on some level, we have.

And my dad is good with it. He's proud. He thinks I make good choices.

Heart swell.

There is nothing like hearing your dad say those affirming kinds of things. Simply put, there is just nothing better.

No matter who you are or what you're up to, whether you're close with your parents or haven't spoken to them in years, there is something inside all of us humans that wants to hear our dad say, "I'm proud of you." We all want it. And now, being a parent myself, I am more aware than ever of how much I want my son to know that I am so pleased and proud of him. I know I'm not a dad, so the impact is different, but still. I want to make sure to live in a way that my family knows I am proud of them, withholding no love. I want my kid to feel that same freedom I've felt, to be who I am transparently with my parents. To let them love me for me, not for some edited version of me that I only want my parents to see.

Because it feels really good to live fully, to parent my child and be as engaged as I know to be, and to have my own parent applaud me for it. It feels like I can fly. Actually, I think I am flying.

I just wanted to share this because a lot of you have parents that you want to relate to. A lot of you are already parents, and you're like me, figuring this gig out. And a lot of you are trying to find the balance between being a good son and daughter, and attempting to be an even better mother or father. I want to tell you that you are doing an AWESOME JOB. And if you are proud of your kid, probably the greatest thing you can do today is just to tell them. Because my dad told me and I am so grateful he took the five minutes to do that, and to tell me why he was proud. I've honestly been thinking of it all week.

Happy Friday to you, friends.

*The cover photo is a picture I took of a graffiti wall in NYC this past week. More about our trip up on the blog on Monday!