My heart is relaxed

This week Little Pencil went for a surf lesson.  It was his first time surfing and the we were all joining him on the beach, me to take photos, my husband to look and learn and Little Pencil to er, surf.

One of the many things I have given Little Pencil, and  one which I deeply regret having foisted on him, is a bit of worry. Okay. A lot of worry. He was a little anxious before we set off. I was nervous too, but that is mainly because I am an over anxious parent. In fact I am anxious when I am not anxious. He was anxious that he wouldn’t be able to stand, that the teacher would be “mean”, that he would get dumped or drown or that he would get stung by a stingray – you know all the normal worries of a child born around the time of Steve Irwin’s greatest influence.

He carried his board down to the beach with determination and grit. Looking a little bit overwhelmed, a tiny bit frightened and a tad ridiculous with a giant surf board under his arm. But he also had on his face that look of resolute determination. He was going to give it a shot.

He sat on the beach and listened to the instructor’s brief. I could see him taking it all in, decoding the messages and committing them to his brain. I gave him space (I was forced to actually give him space by the friends that we  were with, I wanted to sit on his lap, they made me sit somewhere else on the beach)


And then he got into the water and he took his first wave and he stood. It exploded and washed all over me not the surf, not the wave but- that feeling of intense pride and amazement.

Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t surf, maybe it’s because it seemed so much like the reel of a perfect summer movie, little boy surfing the waves with his friends, blue skies above and not a care in the world, maybe it’s just because it is bloody amazing that he can stand on a polyurethane board in the ocean. Or maybe it’s just because he is my son and as my mother I am proud of everything he does

There is a Jewish word commonly used for pride in your children – nachas. It is defined as pride but literally it means a relaxation of the heart. The pride that bubbles through when I see the child I’ve brought onto this earth, the joy I get in his smiling face or his glowing reports, the pride that fully envelopes me, that actually lifts me and transports me to a place only a parent can know.

My heart is relaxed.

Nobody could ever explain “nachas” to me before I had a child.  Now. I get it.


Filed under Little Pencil

18 responses to “My heart is relaxed

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  2. intravenoustherapy

    Absolutely adorable! Both of you! Can’t wait to see him representing in Hawaii!!!

  3. Oh, I love it. My own son, Declan, just got his first surf board at Christmas after 6 months valiantly attempting to surf on his dad’s body board. He had that board for five days before he got to use it. For five days he waxed, stroked, lay on and caressed that board, and I wondered if he’d actually be able to ride it. Like LP though, he got up on his first wave and I can truly say that the happiness I felt for him at that moment is right up there in the top 5 of my life. Personal achievement is sweet, but when it’s your child it’s somehow 100 times sweeter. Here’s to our surfer boys. I have spent the last 10 days staright on the beach while my son perfects his craft.

  4. Gorgeous…thanks for sharing your nachas with us. Because I think I actually just felt a little bit of it there with you!

    Now catch a cab and get your damn free range eggs already! ;)

  5. I wrote about watching my daughter getting ready for “big school” and my worries about it. I didn’t know the word nachas (or I would probably have included it in my post) but I know EXACTLY what you mean. This is beautiful writing, beautiful child and a mother I adore x

  6. Gorgeous!

    I identified with the “over anxious” parent…. *Jaws theme* popped in to my head while looking at the photo.

    Moments like these cancel out all of the “brush you teeth, do your homework, make your bed” moments.


  7. To express the feelings so eloquently here is your gift to me (us).
    I know the feeling – the worry, the will he/does he need me et al – but for you, times a million given LP’s tricky time of arrival & beyond.
    Love the new word you have taught us too.
    Oh, to have my heart relaxed..I will do my best!
    LP-legend!! Go surfer dude.
    The relaxation of mum – truly a holiday experience … Wow!

  8. Michelle Conran

    I know exactly how you feel as I am also an “anxious”parent. I enjoyed this digest very much (it brought tears to my eyes) and I’m so glad that Little Pencil, despite his slight misgivings gave it his all and succeeded. I agree that only parent will get the concept of “nachas” and I’d like to thank you for giving me a word that so aptly describes how I feel about my son.

  9. An Idle Dad

    Ah, I can’t wait for my kids to learn to surf. Nachas, i can dig that!

    Wonderful post. My heart may not be relaxed, but it is better for having read this.

  10. Nicky

    Go little pencil GO!

  11. My heart relaxes now when I see my boys enjoying the swimming pool, enjoying swimming!! All those years of lessons each week, all those tears at the side of the pool (mine, too), all the begging not to go …

    I promised them that ‘one day it will be FUN’!

    And now it is. And they swim. And they love it.

    And my heart relaxes. A bit.

  12. Jeanne

    I love your blogs. And one of the reasons I love them is that I am a worrier too and it is nice to know that I’m not the only one. The first time my daughter caught the school bus into town I made my husband follow the bus (secretly) and check that she got off it okay and got to where she was meant to go safely. And congrats on having a son who can surf!!!

    PS: She’s 19 now – and yes – I still worry just as much …..

  13. My heart is relaxing reading this post. It sums up every moment I see my children achieve something, or not achieve something, just watching them be brave. Gorgeous. x

    Ps: And that photo of little pencil, makes me want to cheer!

  14. Bowerbird

    He looks like a pro!

    Thankyou for sharing the word nachas. Its a beautiful notion and I hadn’t heard it before. The English language is sadly lacking for the really important stuff.

  15. Oh go go go Little Pencil!
    Beautiful. Hope the rest of the holiday is as relaxing and your heart feels great the whole time. :)

  16. Oh that’s gorgeous. Your last sentence put a lump fair and square in the middle of my throat. Sigh. Lucky little pencil – and what a champ!

  17. Little pencil rocks! That was beautiful.

  18. A relaxation of the heart. I wish you many more moments like this. Go Little Pencil. And now I feel like bawling like a baby, that was so beautiful. x

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