In which I don’t (exactly) brag about my kids

tomatersFor a couple reasons. One is that I find kid bragging pretty darn distasteful. I come by that honestly. The Commander was very careful never to brag about me, despite the fact that I was known for a while in grade school as “The Brain of Lincoln School”. Oh, how I HATED that nickname!

That nickname came to me when I took the Iowa tests in third grade. I never knew a standardized test I didn’t like and this one was no exception. Still, I was nervous about how I had done and I will never forget Mrs. Ala looking at me with wide eyes and announcing to the room that I had received straight 99s on the test. Oh dear. Can I just slither off my chair and melt into the floor please? I had expected her to say that I had failed. Passing with a perfect score was almost worse.

Acing standardized tests and having one or two of my crappier grade school teachers call on me ALL the time (even when I wasn’t raising my hand but other kids were) took a toll on my self-esteem and I spent three or four years in junior high and early high school actually “cheating” on tests to try to get lower grades. Why? I didn’t think I would be able to find a boyfriend if I was too smart. Oh dear… And actually, there were plenty of people who were waaaayyyy smarter than me. Like my friend Rothwell, who took math classes at the local college and went on to a successful career at a big oil company (and is nevertheless humble about his accomplishments). Me? I’ve grown into a kind of a successful failure, if you know what I mean. Maybe a little bit of a female Walter Mitty. And that’s okay. It has to be. It’s who I am.

Would I be different if The Comm had constantly bragged about me? I dunno. I probably would’ve been annoyed if she had done that. Just shaddup and let me go out and do daredevil things on my bike, mooooom…

So when I grew up and became a parent I didn’t brag about my kids either. It isn’t my style and I was always annoyed with parents who constantly bragged. During the beach urchins’ later high school years I often felt like I wanted to slug the next person who bragged about how this or that program at Carnegie Mellon or wherever would be such a good “fit” for their child. (What did their child think?) That was tempered a bit by incidents like the time a parent confided in me that her former wunderkind was currently flunking out of high school via smoking as much pot as he could get his hands on. Or whatever. Shepherding kids through the teenage years is a crap shoot even for the most involved of parents and I sincerely hope that kid has found his way into a successful adulthood.

People are always asking what my mouse is doing and I can’t give them the quick sound-bite answer they want. (Actually I can’t answer any question in a short sound-bite as you might guess by this ongoing diarrhea of the keyboard blahg.) Anyway, in my opinion, Mouse is an artist. I mean that in the broad sense of the word, not something like “she paints pictures”. When she is interested in something, she thoroughly immerses herself in it and learns how to do it well. *One* of the things she has been doing *lately* is gardening. She has planted a garden in my backyard and her tomato plants have been threatening to take over the universe. This morning, I found these two beautiful ripe ‘maters. I posted the photo everywhere in cyberspace and, when I got home from work this afternoon, one of those ‘maters was sitting on my ‘puter.

Thank you Mouse. We already ate it. Love you.

One Response to “In which I don’t (exactly) brag about my kids”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I’m doing well with my tomatoes too. I do brag about my kids sometimes, but in the next breath will talk about their struggles. They are a work in progress, always–with positive and negative things happening in their lives. Ashley is my artist, but she is so incredibly hard on herself that I worry about her emotional health at times.