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.