My father, while very accomplished, is a stickler for humility, always insisting that pride goeth before a fall. This includes pride in personal accomplishments, and he is very careful to choose words other than “I’m proud of you.” (That said, he is unfailingly supportive. He just doesn’t like the word, in much the same way that he doesn’t like pineapple upside-down cake.)
So despite my genetic predisposition against using the word pride, that’s just what I saw on Vivi’s face when she actually peed in the toilet in my presence. For months I promised treats, TV, a silly dance, anything, if she would just produce. Nothing.
When the moment came, my dance of joy was in reaction not to the sound of tinkle, but to the look on her face, the dimpled cheeks, the giddiness in her eyes. Pride!
Since I won’t get a picture of the child on the pot—permanent psychological scarring—here’s a very different, wistful expression, and a testament to my mother’s photographic skills, which make my father feel impressed, pleased—ah, hell, proud.