When he makes use of his gift, when he shares his insights with others, I am proud. Why wouldn't I be? But I do not deceive myself. His talents have nothing to do with my parenting. He was born that way. I may have provided him with an environment that hasn't discouraged his skills, but I will cop to no more on that front.
Do you want to know what makes me really proud of him? It's the way he has worked on the things that do not come so easily to him. No, I will go further: it's the way that we have worked on the things that do not come so easily to him. It's how he spent a Friday night at a hotel with his math team. It's how he didn't need to call us. It's how he wasn't even homesick. It's how he talked comfortably to strangers. It's how he didn't worry about his upcoming performance. It's how he got himself to sleep easily in an unfamiliar setting with none of the comforts or crutches of home. It's how he didn't lose anything -- didn't leave belongings at the hotel or on the van.
So forgive me if today I am beaming. His team placed first in a state competition, and that is amazing, truly. My son's brains will take him far. But my smile is wide because my kid had a wonderful time away from us and did not suffer even a flutter or jolt of anxiety. If I take a moment to pat myself on the back on my child's behalf, it will be because when the first great opportunity arose, he embraced the world instead of shying away from it.