I was recently featured in a small publication that highlighted some projects I’m working on for my 9-to-5. A co-worker jokingly asked me if I’d gotten a stack of the magazine to send to my parents. “Nah,” I replied, and left it that, not sure how to articulate why I hadn’t bothered to do so. My parents would have been proud. I guess.
They didn’t heap parental praise upon my me and my siblings for good grades, sports, and the like. No, my parents don’t give out pats on the back for doing what you should be doing (in their opinion) anyway. I get it now, and I think I sorta got it growing up, but that didn’t stop me, even when I matriculated into the real world and set out to carve a place in my profession, from trying to squeeze a “well done” from their tight grips. I strived not for personal accomplishment, but for my parents’ approval. Not that it wasn’t there, but d@mn if it wouldn’t have been good to hear from time to time.
Somewhere along the way I gave up. Gave up hoping to hear it. Gave up sending snippets about promotions and other good news. Nonetheless, I kept busy, worked hard and held myself to their standards.
Then a funny thing happened last weekend whilst home visiting my parents.
I was describing a side-hustle I’m contemplating to my sister and brother-in-law. I shared market research I’d uncovered, ideas for promotion and a rough timeline for development. Daddy was in earshot of the conversation, but provided no input, choosing to read the newspaper instead. The next morning at breakfast, Daddy sat down beside me at the table. Without so much as a “good morning” he deadpanned,
“That business idea you were describing yesterday is interesting. You sound like you actually know what you’re talking about.”
Some might call that a back-handed compliment, but those words absolutely made my day. Throughout the rest of the trip, I re-wound those two sentences over and over like an old school cassette tape. Then I uploaded them to my mental iCloud so that I could retrieve them at will.
These days there is no one whose approval I work harder for than my own. But I’m still a sucker for a back-handed pat on the back from my Daddy.
Here’s to finally growing up, but not really. Cheers!
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
- 2 tablespoons of oolong tea; full bodied, healthy and with a mildly smooth aftertaste. Highly recommended to those that enjoy the health benefits of green tea but have a hard time with its lingering, semi bitter taste.
- chilled Brut champagne; dry, but sweet.
- Steep tea in 2 cups of cold water for 6 hours.
- Strain and refrigerate, covered, 1 hour before serving.
- When ready to serve, half-fill champagne glasses with the tea, topping them off with champagne.
Whose approval means the most to you?