Friday afternoon, after a day of chores and housework in the muggy heat, I flopped onto my bed for five minutes rest. Arlo emptied the contents of my make-up cabinet for the third time that day. I admired the late afternoon sun that gives our bedroom its best light, thinking I should get my camera.
But I didn’t.
I lay and watched this little person. Just sat still, with no distractions in my head or in my hands. Really watched him, with both my eyes and all of my heart.
This little person who is so good most of the time. Who makes a mess but puts things back again afterwards. Who usually only needs one look or a quick “no”. Who is always listening to me, observing, waiting for cues. Constantly learning.
Then, Arlo danced. His feet pattered back and forth. He spun round and round in circles, letting out a teeny tiny “Weeee!” at each turn. He giggled at his own fun. A big boy enjoying a little movement just for the sake of it.
I had a moment. One where my chest fills with pride and love so quickly that it comes as a shock. I wanted to run down the street and shout “My son just did the cutest thing!!”
Countless times, I’ve listened to parental gushing. I nod and smile, but no matter how much I try, I don’t feel it. It’s not my moment. The good part of these conversations is never the details of the story being told. It’s the look on the parent’s face when recounting the tale, the tip of that iceberg of pride and love.
I said to Sam that evening, “I got it today. I understood it again. Why parents gush about their children like they can’t help it, even though they know they are probably boring that person to tears. Those feelings – that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”
Sam understands. He is every inch the proud parent. I’ve admired Sam over the past year or so, happily gushing about his son and the little things he does. Sam is the one who will readily launch into an anecdote, or the latest words he has learnt that week, to anyone that asks how Arlo is. I’m sure he bores his workmates all the time with photos and comments on how great it is to be a dad. He is unrestrained with his public infatuation with Arlo and all things parenting.
I am more understated. But, of course, I have my writing and my photos as a vehicle to show off my boy. But today, I want to do the gushing thing. And so, I am recognising my pride outright and indulging in full frontal parental boasting.
Because I’m so proud of him, just for being the little person he’s become. Because these moments are worth writing about.
And because there is nothing in this world more sweet than Arlo’s little voice exclaiming “Weeeee!” in pure exhilaration.