Lately I have been thinking about where I would like my family to be … and where we are. There is a gap. Some days it feels like a chasm.
Both of my daughters are taking summer school this year. Not because they are learning a third language or preparing to win first place in the state science fair or taking special classes for high school students at Ivy League schools. It seems like my facebook friends’ kids are all doing these things. Seriously, who are these families??? My daughters are going to summer school to improve basic academic skills. They are both smart girls, but they are not disciplined students. This past school year has been a tough one for them and for me.
It would be easy for me to beat myself up about this. Education is something that I value. Frankly, I can be a snob about it. I am quick to point out that both of my daughters could read when they started kindergarten. When I get down, I cling to the fact that I was brave enough to go to graduate school in mid-life, and I now have a masters degree and a new career (and the student debt to prove it — LOL).
I’m sure that my attitude toward education started when I was young. When I was growing up, school was something that I knew I could do well, and where I could receive praise in spite of anything else that was going on in my life.
The year that my parents divorced, the effects showed up throughout our family. My eldest sister almost failed Algebra. I remember my mother explaining to me that my sister’s teacher had told her that “some girls just aren’t good at math” and suggested that my sister avoid math classes in the future. My mother was smart enough to dismiss this advice (and change schools the next year).
My mother was enough. And there were moments when she was down right heroic. My sister “who wasn’t good at math” went on to earn an engineering degree. This couldn’t have happened without a mother who recognized that my sister was smart and her bad grades were due to lack of focus, not lack of aptitude.
What I can do for my daughters is … my best. I can make them go to summer school even though they would rather sleep in and play electronic games and eat junk food all day. I can tell them that they have to earn their own money to have some of the privileges that they would like. In time, my daughters will blossom into women who will be beautiful and accomplished in their own ways.
I know that whether or not I always recognize it, I am enough. Just as I am. And you are, too. So hug the stuffing out of those kids. And who knows? Perhaps we all have moments when we are heroic mothers. And our kids will appreciate it. Someday. When they have kids of their own — LOL.
Liz Possible is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that. Follow Liz at her blog at www.lizpossible.com and her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/MySingleMomLife/