Friday, May 21, 2010

Make Momma Proud

Yesterday was the last day of school. My 2nd grader magically became a 3rd grader, my 5th grader is now a 6th grader and my 7th grader now and 8th grader. I now have two children in the middle school. My youngest will now fend for herself in the elementary with no siblings. She'll do fine. She's got enough moxy for 15 kids.

I have three kids with three vastly different personalities. I know I've written about this before, but as they get older it becomes even more starkly clear to me just how different they are. I swear they all three have the same daddy. Swear.

Abby is very mature for her age. She constantly has her nose either in a book (usually horror) or focused on her cell phone. She is very self-confident, very quiet, very tough. She rarely cries. It doesn't happen often, but if you hurt her she doesn't cry - she just gets PO'd beyond imagination and she will likely never forget. She likes to get her way. She is well-liked by most and the girls that bully her are the ones that can't break her and they hate her for her self-esteem and pride. She is tolerant of her siblings and very protective of them, although she wouldn't admit it if you asked. She is intelligent, but performance for the sake of a report card is a non-issue for her. She is only now emerging from two years of apathy regarding learning, schoolwork, teachers, intelligence, grades or anything involving a school. 4th grade was rough, 5th grade she gave up, 6th grade she figured out she's not getting out of it any time soon and settled in, 7th grade has been wonderful from this momma's perspective. Learning doesn't come easy for her, but when she's got it, she's got it. She is not a straight A student and probably never will be. She could be and maybe someday she'll decide to be. Right now she is a solid B and C student. I'm okay with that.

Sam is fairly immature for an 11 year old. He posesses so much drama it's sometimes hard to remember he doesn't star in a soap opera. Sam  is loud, happy, hilarious, compassionate, sensitive and where his older sister is tough, he isn't. He likes to get maximum results for minimal effort. If it doesn't come easily, he gives up in a fit of anger and frustration. He will give you his last dollar, his shirt, his lunch, his heart. He believes everyone is good and when they prove themselves to be otherwise he is devastated. Teachers love Sam. Kids, sometimes not so much.  He can spell much better than he thinks he can. Math is very hard for him. I see him struggle with the same things I struggle with and yet I can't help him because my math shortcuts are mine alone and he'll have to come up with his own, ones that make sense to him. He, too, is a solid B and C student. I'm marginally okay with that. He can do better and he will. He's 11. I take that into account. A lot.

Kady is probably a little more mature than your average 8 year old in some ways, less mature in others. She's a whiz at everything she does. She excels at virtually any task she takes on. She is loved by teachers, loved by students, parents think she's adorable. She is funny, yet intense. She will mother-hen you to pieces. She can talk you into a coma. She is detail oriented and strives for perfection. If perfection is not achieved she is devastated to the point of near hysteria. She is a raccoon disguised as an 8 year old girl: shiny things distract her. She doesn't mean to disobey most of the time - she just kind of forgets she's supposed to be doing it because something else caught her eye and she has to investigate, speculate, ponder and probe. And sometimes it's really just because something was shiny. Kady is a solid A student. She reads well above her grade level. She really likes school. I'm okay with that.

The last day of school means awards assemblies. 5th grade had theirs a few weeks back, which is new this year. They separated them out because they do more in the elementary and their many awards, prizes, etc. made the end-of-school assembly last approximately seven years. Sam read the state required 25 books, got an award for outstanding computer student, a certificate for Student Council and one for theatre.

Yesterday Kady got an Outstanding Owl award which is basically an award for having good manners, good grades, good behavior, good attitude, etc. She also got Star Reader in the Accelerated Reader program. There weren't but maybe four or five kids who achieved that level. Her daddy kind of teared up when she showed him her reading award.

Abby didn't want to attend the high school assembly because she said she knew she wasn't going to get any awards.

Last night as I was tucking the kids in last night I praised them all as I hugged them. I told Sam I was proud of a report card that showcased the first three letters of the alphabet so well. He thought that was funny. I told Abby I was proud of her for doing so much better in school this year and that I was sure her report card would have more B's than C's this year. I hugged Abby tight and said, "I'm proud of you, big girl," and this led Kady, the family busybody and eavesdropper, to exclaim, "But you're more proud of me because I got awards!" She didn't say it mean, she didn't intend it to be mean, she's just proud of herself and knows I'm proud, too.

Abby stiffened a little and I was quick to correct Kady. "I am proud of you all the very same, honey. I'm proud of your reading award, I'm proud of Bubby's computer award and I'm proud of Abby's totally aced Science final.....and her awesome ninja skills." This got Kady giggling and made Abby grin.

I love all three of my children equally, but they all have different strengths I admire and weaknesses I try to nurture out of insecurity. I don't want Abby to ever think that because she has adamantly declared that she doesn't want to go to college that I am any less proud of her. I didn't want to go to college. I tried. I didn't succeed. I'm okay with that. Am I less of a person because I am degree-less? Am I less intelligent than my friends who have Bachelors or Masters degrees? Not at all. Abby has expressed interest in attending Vo-Tech when she's old enough. She wants to be a stylist and own her own salon. I think this is an amazing dream. She could very well be a business-owner in her mid-20's. Sam wants to move off to New York City and attend Julliard. Or, because his parents are poor, maybe a less expensive fine arts school. He proudly declares himself to be a "future actor". Will he leave his momma and move to the big city? If that's what he wants to do, I sure hope he does. Kady is 8. She will be a third grader next year. Many things remain to be seen with her. Will she continue excelling at school? Or will she level off and decide that perfection isn't necessary to succeed?

I don't know what the future holds for my kids. I only hope I can continue to nurture the best things about them, help them work through the things they struggle with and support them whatever they do. Maybe Abby will graduate Valedictorian. Maybe Sam will become a middle school math teacher and never leave Ottawa County. Maybe Kady will be a stay-at-home mom. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they'll get married, maybe they won't. Maybe they'll have babies, maybe they won't. Maybe they'll always do what they love and call their momma every day. Maybe they'll always make me proud no matter what they do.

Yeah. That's my bet.


Jill of All Trades said...

That was awesome. Loved it. I remember those days with my girls and the pep talks and encouragements that were doled out. You know too that what you might "expect" for the kiddos might just be the opposite. My girls did the exact opposite of what and where I thought their lives might lead. Expect the unexpected but the consistency of love and encouragement will be forever.

Weekend Cowgirl said...

You just never know whare life will lead your kids. But, one thing for sure all the love and effort you put into them will show forever...

MrsCoach said...

Natalie plans to go to Juliard too, hope she and Sam get along well living in the same refrigerator box on the street!

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