Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Tigress

I called my post The Tigress because that is what I want to be. I won't actually ever be that, but it's one of my alter-egos that probably won't ever see a day in the sun. Here's why I want to be a tigress:

A tigress fights for her children. I think that I don't do enough of that. Years ago, when my older kids were small, I would get really annoyed with parents who would defend their kids, even when their kids were brats and snots and other things I daren't type. I swore I would NEVER be one of those parents...if my kids were doing something they shouldn't be (or not doing something they should be), and they got caught, I would let them take their lumps. I might even give them a few myself!

As the years have gone by, I think I've let my kids take the lumps they have deserved, and honestly, there really haven't been that many horrible ones. I have pretty awesome kids. There have been a few occasions when someone wrongly accused my child and I stepped in and gave that person the what for. Nicely, mind you, because that's the way I roll. I'm nice.

But there is one situation where I'm starting to think I may have missed the boat, so to speak. My oldest son is a wonderful kid. He's got a stellar sense of humor, he's a good boy, he's a GREAT big brother, and he's quite bright. He is not, however, a great student. That is something that has bothered me intensely for the past six years. Mostly it has bothered me because I KNOW he is capable of doing better than he does, and it BUGS that he doesn't do it!

Anyway, we are now two short weeks away from High School Graduation, that bittersweet and exciting time of life. My sweet first-born, my little tow-headed boy, who towers over me and calls me WOMAN (as in, "WOMAN, bring me food!") will be leaving home in less than one month for a summer job in Alaska, then off on his mission. And we're still not sure if he's going to have a diploma to show for all the years of education.

And I have spent the past four years emailing teachers, sniffing out missing assignments, buying make-up packets, driving to summer school, figuring out on-line high school courses, attending tearful meetings with disgruntled teachers and nagging and begging and nagging and begging and get the picture. It's been a long, hard slog, and I feel abused that I've had to do it.

Last night I had a revelation that made me want to put on my tigress face and get myself over to the high school. Imagine if you were in school and you were unprepared every single day. You never had your homework ready to turn in, you never studied for the test, you didn't really know what was going on. Would you continue going every single day? Or would you quit? EXACTLY!! Most of us would have thrown in the towel after the first year (or two?!!) of this, but my son DIDN'T QUIT. I think he knows he can do better, and one of the great mysteries of my life is why he hasn't done so. But I've let that mystery govern the way I've treated him the past 4-6 YEARS. The fact that he's kept going to school every day and been in class and TRIED is worth a lot more than ANYONE has given him credit for, including me.

So now that I realize that he's done what he's been able to do, which is to JUST KEEP SWIMMING, I want to go stick my bony finger in the face of a few of the teachers who are giving him grief and ROAR. (With terrible tigress breath and hot tigress spit flying in their faces and their hair blowing straight back--they will probably tremble with fear when I do this). LET HIM GRADUATE FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!!

He won't get scholarships, he won't have an off-the-charts ACT score, he won't have awards for being the most amazing student, but he'll have a diploma that says "I hung in there when things were TOUGH."

A tigress would go to the high school and ROAR for her little cub. But I'm not a tigress and he's not really a little cub, and I feel embarrassed to even type this. I'm just a meek little mom who is probably going to let her son fend for himself and take his lumps. Should I roar or should I let him take care of himself?


Susan said...

A little roaring never hurt. :)

t.t.turner said...

You tell 'em, cousin! :)

Natalie said...

We got your back sista!!! I'm sick of sitting back, this young man has accomplished so many things and has worked hard for them, at what point do you say "you failed my son, you let him down" I don't know how any of these kids survive the halls of high school these days. He did a good job and I'm sorry he doesn't get to walk with his class :(

Lee and Melody said...

I'm all about roaring once in a while. I realize that's easy for me to say now, but I do think that. Getting a diploma the conventional way in many cases says "I have the ability to stuff my head with whatever someone else tells me and regurgitate it on command!" ...but here's a guy who has carved his way along a rougher path, and made it out alive. Regardless of a diploma or GED or neither, he is so talented and is a good, good guy. I think he has his tigress mom to thank for that.

Caroldean said...

This will be one of the last times that you are really able to be a tigress and defend him. He will be an adult when he graduates or the end of the school year comes.

Go for it! What is the worst that can happen? Is it any worse that what will happen if you stay quiet and he doesn't get the diploma?

Anna said...

I think that was a great post...your kids are lucky to have you. I think you've got a good perspective on what's happened and I am excited to see what happens. (and your new family pics are so cute I can't get over it!!)

P.S. I am in a contest that ends tomorrow and am super close to a prize...everyone go vote!
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