After I drove my older boy to his school, my 10-year-old son and I arrived together for his 4th grade awards ceremony and graduation. He went to his home room; I went to wait in the cafeteria. His dad, who is a career military dude for the past 25 years in the National Guard full-time was going to try to be there, but hadn't shown up yet. We didn't tell our boy Dad would definitely be there, because the military can sometimes change the best-made plans.
The 4th graders in our area move on to a 5th and 6th grade school, so this day is a very big one, since elementary school is over. The 4th grade kids parade through the school and are given final farewells and applause in the halls by their underclassmen.
By the time the kids entered the cafeteria, Dad had shown up. In the cafeteria, all the kids sit together away from the crowd of parents. During the ceremony, the kids are called up to the stage to receive any award they have earned. When my son went up, he held his award awkwardly, at first. He looked a little like a nervous deer and I could see he could not find us. He's a very good student so he received several awards, but the big moment was coming… The "You are now a 5th grader award." I leaned into my husband, and I said "I think we need a 'Hoo-ah.' Our little one is not looking as confident as he should. He has stage fright."
Our son's name was called and as he made his way up to the stage my husband with a loud military tone projected a steady "HOOAAHHH!" with the end of the Hoo-ah turning up, like I have heard in the movies. My little one at first kind of jumped in surprise, and then realized that was his dad, letting him know he was out in the crowd and very proud. When our boy went up to the podium to get his final packet, his eyes beamed and he was smiling from ear to ear with pride on stage. His dad was there and everyone else knew it, too!
I love my boys and my husband. Although I spend many more hours a day with my boys, that one "Hoo-ah" from Dad at just the right time really changed his day and probably his life! I could have never accomplished this turn from awkward embarrassment and stage fright to pride and self-confidence with only one word. Dads are special and so very needed.
A proud mom and wife!