It is the end of another school year with kids graduating from one academic level to another.
Usually, I refrain from attending such ceremonies (in all of my children’s schools.) First off, if my kid isn’t getting any award or performing during the ceremonies, why go clap for other kids? Their parents should go.
Second, these award ceremonies are usually so time consuming; the school keeps parents for hours because, the graduating set must, of course, be presented their awards while kids who have done exceptionally well will also be rewarded for their hard work and so, I just wait until the ceremonies are over then I go pick my kids and collect their results, except of course my kids are being awarded or graduating.
Going down memory lane, I can’t recall ever going near the hall on those award days. I never qualified for one. Never won for best subject, or best behaved, or most improved or any such…I was quite content with being above average. It suited me well and thankfully, my parents didn’t push too hard. ‘Be your best’, they always told me and I managed to be on the level that wouldn’t give them too much worry; I might have tried harder perhaps if they pushed me to bring home an award, who knows?
Anyway, my parent’s method is probably why I didn’t pressure my kids to bring home awards. Though when one of my siblings didn’t pass her WAEC exams at first sitting, every little thing she did incurred their wrath.
If she laughed out loud- ‘You are too happy, that’s why you didn’t pass your WAEC.’
If she was caught watching TV-‘You have no head for deep thoughts, that’s why you didn’t pass your school cert.’
If she was found eating-‘Too much food in your stomach, that’s why you failed WAEC’
Anyway, so a few days back, I got a call from my kid’s teacher that my child was selected for three awards; incidentally, I was also called upon on that day to present some awards to some deserving kids as well. So, there I was, clapping crazy. Smiling because my kid made me proud and I was happy for other parents as well.
There were categories of kids that qualified for the school’s scholarship. These kids scored over 95% consistently in all three terms of the session. They were called upon for prizes, special school ties and scholarship awards. Every one gave them a standing ovation as their scores were reeled out in a citation before they received their certificates.
Suddenly I began to imagine life without worrying over school fees. Imagine, if I could still send my child to school and not worry about those darned school fees that always feel like blood forcefully drained off me at the beginning of every school term after payment.
Chai! I would be in paradise. Term after term, I wouldn’t worry about whether I would be able to cover my kid’s tuition, or pay for the clubs or…I looked around at the parents of the kids given scholarships and to me, they weren’t happy enough, if na me, hehn, I would be somersaulting from my seat to the front of the stage and back should my kid get a scholarship.
On our way home, I looked at my child, seated beside me, looking content and accomplished. Yes, I had hugged and kissed her, told her how proud I was of her achievements and told her she could be anything she wanted to be…and I meant it o.
But I let the devil use me, small. So I shifted my weight on the steering and asked innocently: ‘So tell me something, that boy, ( I called his name, one of the kids in her class who was given scholarship) does he per chance, have two heads?’
My kid: Huh? (She looked at me)
Me: Yes, I’m asking because maybe my glasses have become weak and I am not seeing well, I didn’t see the second head.’
She shook her head; and stared out of the window, I saw the look of contentment disappear, I saw her stiffen and sit up.
And I wasn’t done…
Me: ‘So, if that boy doesn’t have two heads, and the other five or six kids who got scholarships, I’m just wondering how come you didn’t get any scholarship. Imagine how life would be if I didn’t have to cough close to N1m in school fees next year, chai, see my life!’
‘I thought you said you were proud of me’, she whimpered. I had killed her joy and I was immediately ashamed of myself
‘I yam! I yam! I said quickly as I shook off the devil’s embrace.
What have I done?
I’ve been trying to be the good mother since then.
Pray for me.