My son, Ryan, graduated college with a creative writing degree this past December. He got a job immediately after school, and moved all the way across the country to work there. I miss him every single day, but I'm incredibly proud of him, and the work he's doing.
Earlier today, I read something he wrote for work. It was so evocative and beautiful, I emailed him, quoted it, and told him how much I loved it.
He wrote back, "Not going to lie, I thought to myself, how would Wil say this? That's a little bit of you there."
I got something in both of my eyes. He was talking about the phrasing, but... in my mind, he was talking about something much more meaningful and personal to both of us. After my vision cleared, I replied, "I am so happy for you, and so proud of you. I have something in both of my eyes. I love you!"
He sent back, "You're the best. I love you too."
I got something in my eyes all over again (I really need to change the filter on our heater, I guess), and then I read the email chain to Anne. She didn't get anything in her eyes for a change, but she told me that she thought it was awesome.
And you know what? It is awesome. I don't know if every parent thinks the way we do, but when our boys were little, we believed that we were not just making sure they were healthy and safe; we were doing our best to help them grow into the kind of adults we'd like to have around us. We took the responsibility of raising (rearing, if you're pedantic about that sort of thing) our children very seriously. It wasn't easy, with their biological father undermining us at every opportunity, and making things unbelievably hard on all of us. No, it wasn't easy at all, but we always stayed focused on what was important, and today, every time I talk to my kids, they say or do something that shows us we succeeded... and that is the most awesome thing in the world.