Friday, 27 June 2014

Yeah, My Kid Just Won an Award ... AGAIN!

      I still remember that dejected look on Gabe's face, every award day at school.  He would come home, his head hung, "Today was the Terrific Kid's assembly at school, guess what?  I didn't win again.  Do you think I will ever win an award?"  I would wrap him in my arms, tears in my eyes, aching for his heart, "I think you're terrific" I would tell him, as if that was actually any comfort.  "You have to say that, you're my Mom".  Every time it was always the same kids that won those stupid awards.  I would get so angry.  It wasn't fair!  Oh, I know "it's not fair" sounds so childish, and yes I did always want to accompany it with a foot stamp. Gabe was a great kid, he was smart, and funny but just not a browner!  My poor little boy never did win an award.
    Rowan is following closely in his big brother's foot steps, no Terrific Kid awards, no medallions.  This time it's different, maybe even a little harder.  It still seems unfair that he continuously gets overlooked, but at the same time his sisters are cleaning house for awards.  My thinking has changed, the injustice no longer seems quite as stinging.  I've discovered a different train of thought, much to my own personal chagrin.
    Yesterday was the end of the school year.  The evening before Christopher took a call from the twin's teacher, Riley had won an award.  Riley has so many awards that she could never really hope to display them all in one place.  The thing is Riley deserves them all, this had never occurred to me in all of my years steaming over the injustice of the system.  This fact seemed to have floated over my head during all of those years.
    My Riley is a type "A" personality.  She is headstrong, and determined.  She has this unyielding moral compass.  I don't say this in a boastful way, but in a factual way.  The thing is, this is not always a great thing to live with.  She digs her heels in.  We have always said that Riley would go toe to toe with Satan.  The only way she will ever be lead down the wrong track is if she is at the front of the pack leading the rest of them.  She knows what she likes and is usually quite inflexible when it comes to a battle of wills, which she and I come to several times a day.  Case in point yesterday morning.  We wanted to surprise her with the award (even though she asked every single day if the school had called to say that she had won an award).  Yesterday morning I suggested that she wear something nice for the last day of school.  She has gotten into the is irritating habit of wearing comfy clothes, that while comfy, do not look great.  She was bound and determined that she wanted to wear the shorts and t-shirt that she had on.  I took out this beautiful panda bear dress that my sister had bought her.  "Just go and try on this beautiful dress that your Dee Dee got you."  "No, I want to wear what I'm wearing".   In the end there was a shouting match, and I ended up screaming at her that she had won an award and I wanted her to look nice!"  She looked beautiful, but it was a hard won battle.
   Riley is the type of person that if she does not succeed, she will exhaust herself until she has mastered what at first she did not succeed at.  She works hard.  There is no accident to her winning all of those awards, she has worked her butt off for every single one, while her laid back brothers sat back.  When I say sat back, I don't mean in a lazy way (although honestly that is pretty close to it).  Both of my boys have not really cared to push their own boundaries, they are/ were far too comfortable in the skin that they are in.  Rowan and Gabe before him, is very laid back. He just kind of goes with the flow.  This is much easier to live with, but does not bring a truck load of awards.  Sometimes I worry for Riley because she is so driven that if there comes a time that she does not succeed she will be mentally unprepared for it.
    We sat in the audience of the clean and bright school gym.  Riley and Rowan's teacher was up on the stage describing the criteria for this award, the Citizenship Award.  "This person is a strong peer helper!  Willing to help anyone and everyone do anything whether it's fun or not.  She leads by example.  She displays a positive attitude not just to staff, but fellow students.  She is involved in extra curricular activities and is very involved in her community."  All of these things were true.  Riley was the one who this year who wanted to sell Rainbow Loom bracelets to raise money for ALS.  She deserved that award, the criteria sounded like it had been created specifically for her (it wasn't).
    My girls are over achievers.  They want to be their best, to make a difference in their world.  I would like to say that they have learned by the example that their father and I have set for them, but that does not explain my boys.  My girls work hard at school.  When I look at both sides of this once injustice I see that individuals who work hard should be rewarded.  An award means nothing if everyone gets a turn to win it, with no work involved.  Yes it is the same families in that school gym every single year, and yet when I look at the children who win those awards every time, they share those same over achiever qualities.  They are those students who strive to be their best, and honestly aren't those the people who deserve to win awards?   I still feel badly for my Rowan, and my Gabe, but life is not always fair.  If life was fair then no one would work hard to overcome adversity.  No one would strive to be their best.  There would be no technological advancement, there would be no cures for diseases.  This world needs type A's and it also needs the laid back people, it needs everyone to make life better.

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