Hopefully, this doesn’t smack too much of hubris

We got some fantastic news this weekend but before I get to it there’s a couple of things that have danced in and out of my mind over the past number of years that need some airing out. Sort of like a recurrent theme that strikes mostly at night when I’m trying to put my head down and put a lid on the events of the day. My mind begins working overtime and unlike those same hours at work or the score at the end of a sporting event, there often seems to be no end in sight.

Maybe it’s the same nagging concerns that most folks have. Things like “are you living your life right” or the old “I coulda” or “I shoulda” done this or that argument that invades ones thoughts with the randomness of a lottery. When your eyes click open in the middle of the night and the attempt to get back to sleep doesn’t seem worth the effort. So you flick on the light and sit in the soft glow and try to pick up a book but your mind has got it’s wandering shoes on and any attempt to focus is feeble at best. I think most of us have had this happen to us on one occasion or another. Usually, whatever is bothering you eventually goes away and it’s replaced by something else. Maybe that’s part of the human condition that we all share.

For me, most of my concerns that keep me up wandering the halls at night center around the wee one. After all, the circumstances she’s faced with don’t make things too easy on her. She splits time with me and her mom on a week on week off basis there’s probably a whole lot of different rules that come with each of the territories. Maybe sometimes she feels as if she has obey two sets of them or become two people. What works for her in one place might not work in another. They might even be simple things such as chores or bedtimes or viewing habits. They might be complicated things such as a group of friends, religious and social issues or just an ear to bend. Either way, if I was in her shoes, at times I guess it’d be like walking the razors edge. What works here might not work there and so on.

Anybody who tells you parenting is easy is full of crap. Plain and simple. Oh there are books and advice columns and support groups and web sites and probably a thousand other things that are designed to get you through it or to guide you along the way. Believe me, I’m not discounting what they have to offer. Far be from me to ridicule anything that is designed to help but as the old saying goes, “until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes…”

So there I was, Saturday afternoon, sitting around with a friend, shooting the shit and sharing some holiday cheer when I decided to open an envelope that had come earlier in the day from her school. Most of these envelopes usually contain such mundane things as school calendars and requests for donations and maybe a hot lunch menu and that’s what I was expecting when I opened it. Little did I know.

I guess sometime back in October, the kids in Anna’s school had to take something called the “California Achievement Tests”. Yeah, I know, it’s one of those so-called standardized tests that don’t take into account a boatload of variables that fail to measure this, that and the other, but still, it was a big deal to her and marked the first time she was being graded by those outside her little world of the Montessori School. I’m not here to argue the value of those types of tests one way or another. I’ll leave that to the academics and the scholastic types amongst us.

The topics it covered consisted of the basics such as Reading, Language. Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Like most other kids, she was sort of anxious about the results and kept asking if they had arrived. Like most other kids, this lasted only a little while and soon the questions stopped.

I opened the envelope and looked at the contents. It took a while to sift through the mumbo jumbo until I got to what I was looking for…

“The graph shows your student achieved a National Percentile of 96 in Reading. This means your student scored higher than approximately 96 percent of the students in the nation.”

It went on to list the results in the other categories: Language: 88 percent
Mathematics: 92 percent
Science: 97 percent
Social Studies: 98 percent
Total Score: 93 percent

I don’t know if I could’ve felt prouder. I somehow feel a little more justified in walking the face of the planet the last couple of days and that my existence seems to matter a little more. I guess it’s sort of nice to have an affirmation that whatever you’re doing is somehow paying off and even though road has been rocky at times, we’ve managed to make our way through it. I don’t know how this stuff bodes for the future and right now I don’t care what it might have in store. The look on her face when I told her of the results will be burned into my mind for as long as I live.

Oh yeah, the last couple of nights, I’ve slept pretty darn well.

Season's Greetings from me and mine to you and yours!

(A heartfelt thanks from the both of us goes out to many, many of you who has shown us some degree of support or offered up some much needed advice over the last couple of years here at E2. Hopefully, we shall not be disappointed.)