The idea for this post began with my mom turning to me and saying, “I’m not embarrassing you, am I?”
Her enthusiastic cheering and championing is the stuff of legends! Well, okay. Maybe not legends, but worthy of a reflection on why being that enthusiastic voice in the crowd is something worthwhile and too often quelled.
When we were kids, Mom attended as many of our functions/performances/events as possible. She clapped. She cheered. She congratulated and hugged and smiled and made us feel like stars.
Perhaps this sounds familiar. But the best thing about my mom’s voice in the crowd is that it has never wavered. During middle and high school drama productions, our friends would ask, “Is your mom going to be here tonight? I love it when she laughs.” At my graduation, she stood up clapping, my own personal ovation, and shouted, “Way to go, Rob!” At my convocation, much the same thing.
When we watch the Riders play football, you’d think she was coaching. She yells and cheers and does the happy dance. She commented today that she could do the ‘Gainer’ job (the team mascot).
And today… we were at our 10 year old’s second football game of the year. The first became another exhibition of my mom’s enthusiastic cheering and support. Today was much the same! She gets so invested and is so loyal. She wants the kids to succeed. At one point, while being her wonderful exuberant self, she turned and said, “I’m not embarrassing you, am I?”
I’ll admit that once, a long time ago, I could have melted into the floor with some of my mom’s actions. But not any more. I’ve realized what a great example she’s set for me in enthusiasm, loyalty, bravery, and being yourself (even if it might not be ‘cool’). I know that this has been an important part of who I am as a parent, wife, friend, and teacher. It’s a big part of my work with others, and I can’t believe it ever crossed my mind that being positively and vocally enthusiastic for the success of others was ever embarrassing. In fact, I’m embarrassed that I ever made her think that it was.
So, in answer to your question, Mom, I want to say thank you…for being the voice in the crowd, the signal of hope and encouragement. Keep on inspiring and supporting in the wonderful, vocal way that you do.
I wouldn’t be me without it.