Mr B cantering for the first time.
I know part of it lighting me up is because he's not even eight yet. There has always been a small yearning in me for having started something as a kid that I carried on to a successful level as a kid. I didn't do sports, or scouts, and only did Explorers (a camping/hiking group) for a year, and that was when I was older than this.
It doesn't bother me whatsoever that Mr G doesn't have a passion like this that he's followed through as a physical activity his whole childhood. It seems easy, and pleasant, and totally him.
But at the same time, it still definitely lights me up that Mr B has this - this success, this passion, this single-minded path.
Probably because I'm so NOT single-minded, there's a little envy there, displaced from childhood. I didn't have a true dream that showed like this. Okay, hmm, interesting how that came out. I did have a true dream, and I did follow it, and I'm now doing it professionally. Observing others across cultures and applying the understanding to improve social function was really my dream all along. But there was no way for me to show that off as a kid without just being weird. And, er, yeah - I have a show-off urge (despite having been quite shy until mid-high school... not that you'd know that now). I actually have to work to suppress the show-off-i-ness.
So maybe I'm just showing him off. But I'm also really proud of his success. It was not so much hard or a struggle or a great overcoming of anything - he has been making steady, reliable progress, so it is just success on the track to more success. It isn't that heart-aching teary empathy of when they succeed at something that was a deep personal challenge and struggle, that moment when you could burst from pride in their achievement. It's just success, and bar raised at the same rate toward the next success.
Hmm. I think this one equates more to the 'going to Kindergarten' moment, for me. First day of school didn't have the whole 'oh, my baby's growing up' pride and bittersweet. This is closer to what I think is that sensation, though without the 'my baby' part. And not really bittersweet, either - just that sense of ... ah, now I see. It is that sense of clarity into who he is RIGHT NOW, how grown, how able, how himself. No cardboard cutout; this is him, right here.
I love those moments. They often surprise me, but they're all the better for that.
I'm also proud of us as parents for having followed this dream of his, and made sure it happened. His passion and unflagging interest (except when he had instructors who didn't make him work hard enough) have been drivers for the continuing lessons (since he was 4 1/2 or so), definitely. But we could have put him off, put it on ignore, let it slip or let it drop. And we didn't. Because of that, on Saturday, he cantered for the first time. That's what parenting is for, some days - clearing the path so they can follow their passion. Not that we do that all the time, or so successfully - we do drop balls and blow it and mess up and have to re-start on other things, at other times. This one is one of the shining successes, though, for us. And it's a shining success mostly because it was his success once we opened the gates. We've just stayed out of his way where we can - he's made it clear that he doesn't want or need our guidance, he has his own decisions to make on this, and he intends to make them himself.
That's pretty cool, too.
Anyway, I can't get enough of this photo, even though it's blurry and small. It's him, right now (okay, last Saturday), succeeding at the things he has chosen to do.