Coincidentally, Abe was also “Student of the Month”. Unfortunately he couldn’t be at the ceremony because, you know, he was off busily receiving a first place prize at the regional “Utah History Day” competition (documentary category) with one of his best pals. (The two of them made a documentary on Agent Garbo – which they will now be taking to the state competition.)
This, of course, is not to be confused with his other recent regional history competition. The one where he participated with the other four students from his school who made it that far in the “History Bee”.
I know. I know. There is nothing worse than having to read of all the wonderful accomplishments of other people’s children. But, what can I do? I try to discourage them. In fact, as I sent Abe off yesterday, I specifically said, “I hope you do well!” and then, with eyebrows raised pointedly, I added, “But not too well.” (I knew that “too well” would mean just what it did – that we’d be carting him off to the state competition. Heaven forbid.)
But what can one do? They have their agency. And, try though I might, I can’t totally stop them from all this troublesome . . . success. Sigh. And, in the meantime, they keep being left out of blog posts for not doing the mischievous, naughty things their younger siblings do. So. There the two of them are. In all their glory.
And now I will stop all of my teasing. It’s a very happy thing, as a mother, to see your children succeed and do well at anything they might do well with. It’s satisfying and rewarding to see them do impressive things. It’s wonderful to sit and listen to teachers who have noticed (and are now proclaiming out loud) the things you have always quietly been certain of. Their accomplishments and successes and joys mean more than my own. Their accomplishments and successes and joys kind of are my own. And, like everyone, they truly do have their strengths and their talents; and, of course, they have their areas of less skill and ability.
Ultimately, they will keep growing up – finding more of these opportunities, unearthing more talents, and discovering more interests. They may also miss out on some opportunities; they might not develop some talents (because life is full and busy; and we won’t have the time, resources, or desire necessary to involve them in everything they might have excelled in.) They will have plenty of struggles and failures all wrapped in with these wonderful moments of recognition and achievement – because that’s life, and that’s what we humans do as we make our way through it. I have enough of these little people now to realize that neither the struggles nor the successes will be the exact same for any of them (except, of course, in the rare instance that two of them get a “Student of the Month” award on the same day) nor do they need to be. Obviously some successes will be more visible and will receive more recognition; and, of course, I’ll cheer for those. They will make me happy. They will make me proud. I’m their mom. How could they not?
But the truth? The truth is: nothing they do or don’t do will ever matter to me as much as simply who they are – their tremendous souls; their connection to me; the fact that they are mine; and that they are kind and want good. That will always trump all else.
So . . . on to the less noteworthy . . . because, with my own kids, the brag-worthy and the insignificant somehow make me equally happy. Do your big things; and your small things, kids. You are mine and I love you and your precious little selves completely.
Only . . . back at the beginning of this post, when I was touting my children’s accomplishments, why oh why did I not think to say some clever thing like, “This is why I must keep having children. For the good of society.”?
Anyway, to end: this conversation (which spurred some humorous responses on Facebook):
Anders walks in from outside -- carrying a handful of dog food. "Can I have a bowl for this?" he asks.
"Just put it in the dog's bowl, sweetie," I respond.
"But I need it in a bowl for me," he says.
"Oh no," I explain. "Dog food isn't for boys. It's only for dogs."
"But you SAID I could eat it!" he insists.
"No, honey. I never said that. Dog food isn't good for little boys. Go put it outside."
"But, . . ." tears welling up in his eyes, voice quivering, "can I have dog food for my birthday?"
Well. We'll see, I mean . . . I suppose, if it's for your birthday.