Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)
You see, I thought I would feel like a good parent when my daughter was born. Having all those maternal instincts kick in and I’d be the perfect parent. Why, I'd just dress her up in cute little outfits, keep to her feeding schedule, sleeping schedule…pretty simple. Winning the Parent of the Year Award would be a piece of cake.
When the first round of sickness hit, no, exploded, I wasn’t so sure about this being easy. There was puke on the floor, on my clothes and gag…even in my hair. But, being a good parent, I didn’t mind. Actually I was too tired to mind, never mind that I looked like the lady from the black lagoon after an all-nighter.
OK, so I didn’t win the Parent of the Year Award my first year. I doubt I was even in the top 1000. But, I renewed my commitment and struggled valiantly the next few years knowing ‘one of these days, one of these days’.
It was the year my daughter began her first day in kindergarten that my hopes of finally bringing home the Parent of the Year Award. Knowing all the hours spent learning to write her name, naming all 108 colors, singing the alphabet forwards and backwards at the top of our lungs, and naming the parts of the body (no…not all of them, I am smarter than I look) would at least put me in the running. I proudly presented my beautiful daughter at the doorstep of higher learning that fateful day in August.
The phone call I received an hour later forfeited all chances of the Parent of the Year Award. For some reason, and only a five year old would understand, she refused to share any of the toys, pushed Brayden off the swing, wouldn’t color within the lines and let Mr. Jingles, the class guinea pig, out of his cage. Needless to say, Miss Gibson was not a very happy teacher.
Well, as the year went by, I learned more about some of my competitors and how extremely competitive driven we are. For instance, did you know a child needs to learn to express him/her self? I was all ready one-step ahead of them. My darling does that automatically when she doesn’t get her way while standing in line at the grocery store. The looks I get from the clerks, well, I won’t even go there!
Nope, that’s not the right ‘self expression’ because I found out some shocking news. In the pursuit of the Parent of the Year Award, one family drives their five year old son to music lessons, tennis lessons, French lessons, math camps, science camps and manages to squeeze in time for playground fun…yes, for fun, on Saturdays.
Ok, so where does it say in the rules that you have to PAY for these lessons? My daughter has music lessons…singing along with Big Bird, to her dollies, and when she takes a bath. Sports, well she climbs trees and kicks the soccer ball into the neighbors yard almost every night. Foreign language is learned from Sesame Street Academy and some Igpay Atinlay I throw in just to broaden her horizons. Science and math camps? Well here I have it won, hands down. Once a year our family will pitch a tent in the backyard. Then when the clear sky is its darkest, we will count the stars and make wishes on falling stars before we are lulled to sleep by the sweet singing sounds of crickets.
My friend said she heard some shocking news the other day. She heard that the prize for the Parent of the Year Award wasn’t really that great.
What? I was speechless. But in that moment I realized something pretty special. I won prizes daily with every hug or kiss or “Mommy, I love you”.
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