I’ve been a mom for nearly 8 years, and I’ve discovered that only three things really turn me into a Momma Bear. I’ve only experienced these three situations with Emily, although I’m sure if any of them happens again with Julia I’ll be just as upset.
The first Momma Bear moment is when I feel like I can’t get Emily from somewhere if I need or want her. There were a couple of times last year when Emily’s school wouldn’t let me sign her out, and I was ready to go berserk on someone. I also seem to snap rather quickly when someone chastises Emily right in front of me, and Emily hasn’t done anything wrong. There was a nasty moment once when a lady in her car yelled at Emily for interrupting, making her cry. I confess it was one of the rare occasions when I didn’t respect an elder.
The third situation (and topic of the day) is when Emily’s awesomeness is overlooked or ignored, usually so that someone who has greater academic or behavioral struggles can be recognized for demonstrating improvement. As a teacher I know how important it is to reward students who have difficulties so that you can reinforce the benefits of positive change. But as a mother it’s different. Especially when you are constantly being told during parent-teacher conferences that your child excels academically and socially, yet month after month there is no recognition.
It’s been happening since she was 4 years old and in VPK. Her class had a special Student of the Week poster, and whoever was chosen as the student of the week also got to take home the class “pet,” a stuffed dog named Fluffy. Every kid was dying to get Fluffy, because he also came with a notebook where you could insert photos and write about the adventures you’d had all weekend. Well, despite being told in a conference that she was one of the only kids who followed directions consistently and despite the fact that she was one of 2 top readers in the class, she was almost the last one to be awarded Student of the Week and given Fluffy. She was confused when kids who were always being sent to the office for misbehaving were recognized before her, and we just told her that her special day would come. Of course it did, and she was thrilled. But she was nearly (if not) the last kid to get a turn, and as soon as everyone had a chance then the teacher started again, and most of the class got to take Fluffy home a second time. But not Emily, since her turn had passed so recently to the start of the second round of Fluffy’s home visits. She held up just fine, but I could feel myself getting upset over the obvious unfairness of the whole thing.
Unfortunately, this was only the beginning. But I promise, there’s a happy ending ahead. But not until Mrs. Bear makes an appearance…