In accordance with my monthly hobby goal, I’ve spent several hours with pictures, paper and glue since February 1. Leafing through the photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia, I did more than walk down memory lane. I renewed my sense of motherly pride.
When I was growing up, I wanted both of my parents to be pleased with me. I spent years following instructions, doing chores diligently, and conforming to their will. Then my dad left. The sky crashed down. Rather than be a casualty, I put up a shell and pushed my mom away.
How many times did I get straight As in school only to hear something like, “But what’s this A- in Geometry”? I could always be pushed harder. Whatever I achieved, it wasn’t the top. There was no basking in one moment before looking for the next mountain to climb.
I promised I would never do that to my kids.
You know what happens when you say you will never do something? Yep. That despicable thing is the first thing you do. (Never say never is a good policy. Of course, you said never…so)
My oldest son could read in kindergarten. He learned all of his multiplication tables in 2nd grade. He tested in the 97th percentile in math in third grade. He was an intellectual superstar and he wasn’t too bad at basketball either.
I had high expectations for him. He always met them. I praised him and let him bask in his accomplishments. Of course, I bragged about him until I’m positive people dodged me because they wanted to gag over my motherly enthusiasm.
Life was grand. And then…
My youngest son needed speech therapy in kindergarten. He needed occupational therapy because his handwriting was terrible and he held his pencil wrong (still does, BTW). His fantastic imagination and memory held academic shortfalls at bay in first grade. He didn’t learn how to read until late in his second grade year.
I was no less proud of him than my older son, but I despaired of helping him succeed. Suddenly, I was at the bottom of a steep learning curve.
All of this came back to me as I finished that same boy’s high school scrapbook. Seeing pages upon pages of accomplishments and awards filled my heart to bursting. He came so far. I always knew he would. He exceeded all my expectations.
The older got straight As and the younger carried a B average. “Still above average,” I told my straight-A-over-achieving self. The older was valedictorian of his high school class while the younger was a National Honor Thespian. Scholar athlete versus most improved band member.
Thankfully, I learned not to compare them early on in their lives. They are both extraordinary in their individualism. If they dream it, I believe they will achieve it. That’s not the mother in me talking either.
What makes me proud? Watching my sons grow into men who have convictions and live by them. Seeing them follow their dreams – whether big or small.
Am I proud that the oldest is a college graduate and the youngest made the Dean’s list last term? I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.
Seeing how far they have come gives me hope that they will continue on, surpassing their dad and me.
Isn’t that what all parents dream for their children?