“You Must Be Sooooooo Proud!”

Yes,  I really am proud, but not about what you might think …..

What makes me happiest and proudest has nothing to do with the fame and good fortune the world has bestowed on my son, and the resulting compliments I receive from being his mother.

screenshot of Dale Stephens  thiel fellowshop page

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of Daleʼs achievements. What mom wouldn’t be! Itʼs been exciting to see him get recognition for his work and to have amazing opportunities open up for him. Iʼve enjoyed basking in the reflected glow and taking advantage of opportunities extended to me. 

What brings me real joy and pride is that Dale is happy and confident.

He’s following his chosen path and finding fulfillment.

My joy and pride come from that.

I love to see him reaching out to others, making connections for himself , and helping others connect.

He’s not afraid to share his enthusiasm with the world, and the world usually reciprocates. I like that Dale expresses gratitude and acknowledges others when they lend him a hand or introduce him to yet another new friend.

I’m especially proud and thankful that he consults with us, as parent mentors, as well as his new-found mentors out in the wider world, yet he confidently makes his own decisions.

Dale  Stephens and group of friends in Winters.
City friends visit Winters.

I love when he brings his friends to our home in Winters to share a meal, or help pick fruit from the back yard, or just visit. As we relax and chat, I can see the close, caring relationships he has formed with others.

Then there is the simple pleasure of hearing him say he loves us. I’m really happy to be the first to know of some grand news before he puts it out to the whole wide world on Twitter or Facebook.

He asks me to share my opinions and experiences with people he knows. We discuss books and ideas and we continue to grow our our newly emerging relationship, with me as a parent and now peer of an adult child.

It’s in the quiet times together that I look back and appreciate the value of all the hours spent in a rocking chair or times we talked before saying goodnight, or getting those good morning hugs.

I am especially grateful for all this given the social challenges Dale faced homeschooling in a small town and without any siblings! I’m so thankful for the community here that helped support Dale in being himself without crushing his spirit.

So, as exciting as events have been over the past year, and as wonderful as the compliments to me have been, they are only a small part of my love, pride, and joy I have for my child.

My wish for him is to be happy no matter how the world responds to him and to his ideas, and that the world will help him fulfill his dreams.

My wish for other parents is that we remember to show the pride we have in our children to our children.

Not just when there is acclaim or award or notice by others. Not just when they do something wonderful.

Children need to know that we are proud of them and who they are, and that they have our unconditional love all the time.

They need us to let them know how proud we are of who they are as people, not just what they do.

We can be proud of our children just because they are our amazing, unique, lovable children.

                  You Must Be So Proud at LisaNalbone.com                 How proud???     Sooooooo proud!!

In Memory:Bradley Jay Nalbone Sep.3, 1985- Oct. 9, 2010

Note: this post was written two years ago but I want to send it out today to honor the memory of my nephew and because I think we can all use the reminders to cherish our children and make the effort to extend our kindness to those suffering from loss.

Memorial brochure for Brad NalboneOne year ago today my dear nephew Brad died. It was a terrible shock and loss and we all miss him.

Only 25, happy,  he was always ready with a joke or quip, and just ready to soar with his music, his psychology degree and volunteering.

It was a tragedy for him, his dad and mom, other relatives and the many, many lives that he touched.

I woke up in the wee hours, unable to sleep, thinking about Brad and the great loss.

I also thought about all the gifts he had given in his short sojourn here, and a gift he has given me in relating to my son now, since Brad is gone.

One of my favorite memories is a Christmas gathering, when the boys were teens. Well Brad was a teen and Dale not there yet, and it was one of the rare occasions Grandma Dot was visiting from New Jersey.

Brad was already into his music and either came with his guitar or picked up Pierre’s and started performing. Not to be left out, Dale got out his sax and asked if they could improvise and play together. Brad was game, and they tried to play together. It was a bit bumpy at first -but quickly gelled as they found a rhythm and togetherness that they didn’t often find since their personalities were so different.  Brad was 6 years older than Dale, and he was usually patient with Dale, but sometimes you could tell it got old.

As they were getting their groove, they noticed that Grandma Dot really wanted to be included. The boys brought Grandma Dot in on the piano and shakers. It was so great to see them connecting through music and silliness, and just going for it without worrying about the outcome. It was a gift.

In the last year, as people have asked me, often horrified, how I am coping with Dale’s decision to drop out of college, to speak out, to live on his own, I realized that some of my peace with all that Dale does is due in part to what I learned from my brother and losing my nephew.

Acceptance.

Appreciation

Perspective.

My son is alive and well, happy and pursuing his dreams. He is trying to solve a problem in the world. He cares about people and is self-confident. How could I not be overjoyed and supportive?

So, in memory of Brad, please:

  • If you have children love them unconditionally and accept them and support them in following their dreams.

 

  • If you know someone who has lost a child, reach out, tell them something wonderful you remember about their child or their parental interaction. Listen if they want or need to talk. Send a photo or card with a memory. Share the pain for a moment, or gladden their hearts for a moment.

 

  • Smile, tell a joke, laugh, and pass it on.