Going all “one of THOSE moms”

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madyDisclaimer: If you are not in the mood for a smidge of a rant (ok, it’s pretty full-blown, but then it’ll be out of my system and I can go back to being a happy public school parent again), you should probably just come back another day.

So…..this day started as many days do – with Munchkin preferring to do just about anything over getting ready for school. She settled on an outfit that I would clean the garage or the bathrooms in, but it’s the last day of school so WHATEV, y’all. At least she brushed her hair and put earrings on. I dropped my girl off for the last day of 4th grade today, fully intending to meet her for ice cream around 1-ish with some friends.

I am happy we made it to the last day of school because this year has been a chore. Munchkin is coming into adolescence and she is trying on the mean girl routine. It grates on my nerves and breaks my heart because I KNOW she has to learn the hard way that being a $hit to people around her does NOTHING to engender the affections of the people who have to live in the same world as she. So, I’m ready for a summer away from all of her normal crowd, where she will put her nice girl outfit back on and behave like we who love her KNOW she can (caring, kind, sensitive, a great helper and a really sweet little girl), and pray some of it sticks to a little older and (hopefully) a little more mature Munchkin once hell school starts back up in August.

I’m working. It’s work. I would prefer to be at home, getting ready for our vacation, but I’m at work. And that’s ok. I have a good job that gives me a paycheck and doesn’t make me cry or want to drink. And then…………I see on Facebook where a friend and fellow mom is on her way to the FOURTH GRADE AWARDS?!! WTHeck? What awards? I scroll back through my email, calendar and even go (even though I KNOW there isn’t going to be anything on it) to the campus calendar on the website. Nope. Nada. So, I call the school and, sure enough, there IS a 4th grade awards ceremony in 10 minutes. I jump up and race to the school. Thankfully, we live in a small town and the lights were all working in my favor today (yes, I’m feeling rather Hunger Games-ish) and I made it in time not to miss anything. (Good thing too because her class went first.)

Munchkin got a Reading Achievement award which I thought was very neat. (Being an avid reader myself, it DELIGHTS me to see Munchkin’s passion for the stacks growing) The ceremony itself was only about 15 minutes long and there was a only handful of parents there; confirming that it wasn’t just me who was unaware of the morning’s activity. (The parent who had tipped me off said her daughter had called her less than an hour before the event and told her)

This is where “That Mom” moment comes in so bear with me. Like I said, I have to get it out of my system. I am fully willing to believe this event was sprung on the teachers, at the last minute, with little time for collaboration or comprehensive coverage of the kids in the grade. Munchkin has good teachers who have worked very hard this year with, as I understand it (and am sorry since one of “them” was mine), a difficult bunch of kids who seemed to thrive on drama as much as water and air. BUT. It felt halfway done. And not just because it was NOT communicated at all. Each teacher had different awards. Some children in some classes received Honor Roll awards and then some didn’t. Some were recognized for test achievement and some weren’t. Some awards received certificates and some medals. And, a LOT of children received nothing. It seemed like nobody really wanted to be there and everybody was a bit uncomfortable. The kids sat on the floor, crammed together in a space that would have been more appropriate to a pre-k bunch than a bunch of lanky almost fifth graders who are all legs and mouths. Munchkin’s reading achievement award was her only certificate this year, but it shouldn’t have been. She made all A’s ALL YEAR in Math, Science and Social Studies. She participated in the Honor Choir and, with the exception of being counted tardy (by about 20 minutes) for attending a pep rally at the high school with me (then, the Director of Communication for the district) Perfect Attendance. She was Commended in Reading on the STAAR and made a 20 point improvement on the Math STAAR.

You know what? I get that Munchkin is challenging. I get it. She sometimes tries to manipulate people and situations to suit her pursuits but has not yet gained enough maturity to learn that, most of the time, that is grossly inappropriate and not something people who care about other people do. She tries to fit in when she should just be content to be herself. She is already walking that stupid path of girldom that says you must be like ______________, you must dress like ________________, you must act like _______________ in order to be “someone.” Well, y’all, I never fit in like that – no matter how hard I tried, and neither will Munchkin.

But there was an opportunity to recognize her for what she IS good at today – academics. But they didn’t do that, spending a LOT of time, instead, on conduct awards. Behaving at school IS important and I’m not trying to take ANYTHING away from the children who are more compliant. Absolutely not. (I’m mad, but I’m not THAT mom) Do I sometimes wish Munchkin was a little less….Munchkin-like and a little more….somebody/something else? I would by LYING if I said it never went through my head. But then she wouldn’t be Munchkin, would she? She would be somebody else and losing that brilliant little flame is just unacceptable to me; even it it meant all Excellence in Conduct awards and an end to the headaches and “Um, Mrs. Fridaynightgirl, may we speak with you a moment about Munchkin” calls.

*sigh* Venting my spleen is hard work, ya know?

Munchkin is a beautiful girl. She is brilliant. She is a gifted dancer, actress and a pretty good singer too. She loves her little sister to the moon and back and, despite the season of perpetual chaos she seems to bring to every conversation and encounter, she IS a very good little person in the making. And, for that, I love her. Endlessly. And I don’t need any certificate or award or medal to show her how proud I am that, despite the 10,000th screw up, rolled eyes, sucking teeth or smart-a$$ remark, she always comes back to say she’s sorry. She loves us. And can she try again.

And that’s better than any damn certificate.

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