Being a Parent Sucks.

Sometimes it sucks being a parent. When they’re babies, you cant wait for them to get big enough to make their own food, see to their own hygiene and possibly massage your feet and tell you what a wonderful mother you are. Then they grow up and start thinking for themselves and you wish they were helpless infants again that did exactly what you wanted because they had no choice in the matter.

I’ve been super-stressing lately about Big Son. This is his last year of high school. I want him to be an academic MACHINE, churning out perfect A’s and slaying people left, right and center with his brilliance. I want him to be the first name they think of when its time for university scholarships. Heck, I want him to eat, breathe and sleep schoolwork and career goals.

But young adults have this nasty habit of doing whatever the hell they want. It’s very frustrating. Big Son says he wants to go to University and become a lawyer. But he takes a rather relaxed approach to making those goals happen. Sure he goes to school and does a bit of work here and there. But he aint living and breathing schoolwork. In MY opinion, he’s not very focused on his future at all. And we all know that my opinion is THE most important one around here. Dammit.

Two nights ago, my frustration went nuclear. I raged at Big Son about his sub-standard committment to his studies. Too much sport, too much girlfriend, too much texting. Not enough schoolwork, reading, and that foreign concept called, ‘Hard Work.’ “There’s only eight months left in the schoolyear and you don’t have a hope in hell of winning a scholarship! It’s time to get real about your future. You’re headed nowhere… blah blah.” The very worst of the academically-aggressive-fiapoto-psycho-Wendt Side of me had taken over of all semblance of common-sense and decency.  It was rather epic. He may have cried when it was all done. I know I did. I apologized. But the words had been said.

Yesterday we went to Big Son’s school for the Pacific Scholar’s Awards Night. He said he was getting ‘a something.’ I was feeling bad about my Tyrannosaurus-sized blow-out at him so I told the Hot Man we should all go as a family and support our son. ‘Even if he’s only getting a certificate saying he spelled his name right.’ We made a couple of ula lole ( candy lei’s). I had the kids dress up nice. ‘I don’t want the teachers to think we’re bush people. Wear your Pumpkin Patch dress so they will think we are refined bush people.’ Big Daughter complained because she had a Japanese test to study for. I told her to zip it and take her text book with her. That way people will think we’re EDUCATED global citizen bush people!

We went. Big Son got a certificate for passing NCEA. We clapped. We put his ula lole on him. Little Son whined through the keynote speaker’s address, When are we going home? I wanted to twist his ear but of course I didnt. That would only confirm our bush people status. We’re not that kind of bush people. We wait and twist their ear when we get home…ha. I gave Little Son that silent but deadly look. The kind that conveys mayhem and destruction and strikes fear in a whiney child’s heart. He was suitably impressed and there was no more whining.

Then they presented awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each level. I mentally prepped myself not to cast envious looks upon the parents of children who WERE academic superstars. I will remain impassive and calm. I will not get mad that my son is lazy and unfocused. I will not throw rotten eggs at the proud parents of children who are not lazy. I promise.

They announced 3rd, 2nd. We clapped. Then they announced 1st. The Top Pacific Scholar. They said Big Son’s name. I was too stunned to even cheer CHOO-HOO like a proper bush parent should. Big Son got his award. It included one hundred dollars. My initial reaction to that was indignant on his behalf. A reaction that conveniently forgot that I’d just been lamenting his laziness.  Ohmigosh, he works his butt off all year and all he gets is one hundred dollars?! Couldnt they have gotten a company to sponsor a decent financial reward? Hello, in Samoa the top student at SamCo was getting $1000! The top student at RLSS was getting an all-expenses paid trip to the USA! I wanted to shower my son with hundred dollar bills myself, right then and there. Long, colorful strings of hundred dollar bills. (That I would then take back to the bank the next day. Because they were just for show. You know, to make all the other parents feel bad about themselves.)  Except I didnt have any hundred dollar bills. We had no more candy lei’s to put on him either. So we just clapped. (We are rather useless islander parents…)

Big Son smiled. A lot. He looked proud. Happy. The first thing he did was hug me and say, “See mum? Do you still think I have no hope in hell of getting a scholarship?”

A genuine bush people mum would probably have snapped, ‘Salapu!” And taken him home for some re-educating. But I often fail at being a bush people mum… I hugged him back. And tried not to cry. I was so very happy and relieved that in spite of his OUTWARD APPEARANCE laid-back approach to schoolwork – my son IS on track to achieving his academic goals.  And yes, I felt rather guilty about my epic lecturing. It was a good day to be proven wrong.

Teachers and parents congratulated our son. And us for being his parents. I smiled in a dignified, reserved manner. Befitting the parents of an academic superstar. Because of course, such an achievement is no big deal beause we are academic superstar/global citizen/refined people and this kinda thing happens all the time. Ho hum. So blase. Until Little Son had to ruin it by exclaiming really loud in a really unrefined way – “Its so awesome! You won a hundred dollars! What are you gonna buy?” I knew I should have left him in the car

When it was all done, we took the family to dinner. To Burger King of course. Like good bush parents. Where Bella hugged everyone and announced, “This is the bestest day ever. This is the awesomest family ever!”

And I told Big Son he could pay for it with his award money.  Just kidding son!

Sometimes it does suck to be a parent. And sometimes it’s downright fabulous.

jadepric

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17 comments

  1. well done BIG SON……need I say well done parentals….your on the right track…..keep up the tantrums they really count.

    1. They did the years I was teaching there. RLSS Dux prize was sponsored by an American millionaire busn with close ties to Samoa and Robert Louis Stevenson. SamCo Dux prize used to be donated in the name of my grandfather HJ Wendt. I dont know what kind of prizes they have now though.

  2. Awesome!!! Congrats to son and proud mama! I know your pain! I went off on my 21 year old son last week (again) who can’t seem to get his permit to take his driving test…and I had been taking him out for practice and he was doing well. So why not progress so you can actually GET a license ?? We won’t talk about dropping out of college and seemingly not a clue about next step. Uuughhhh! Well hopefully he will have an internal growth spurt and get his act together, cause Mama has done her part and now it’s time for him to seize the rains of his own life!!!

  3. Congratz Big Son!! i love award ceremonies. the kids have smile and show their pride love it… love the smiles!!
    My mom did the same thing to me while i was in high school. asked everyday if i graduated…and when i did i end up graduating..i was 45 credits over my graduation requirements. it was frustrating but i had to show her that i knew what i was doing. only to burst her bubble when she read my yearbook and read that i wanted to be a “Radio DJ” when i grew up. lol..too funny the look on her face. needless to say i’ve come a long way since then and i’m greatfull that she did keep pushing me to do much better in school. all you hard work Mamahs does make a big difference in the kids future. *Kuddoz to the Parentals!! You’re Awesome*

    stay blessed!!

  4. This was thoroughly enjoyable to read… “bush people”…. hahaha reminds me of my mom… she usually calls us children that…..” don’t look like you from the bush.”… “fai faalelei lou ulu, pei a oe se kagaka mai le kogavao.”.. my favorite to date…”try to act like you are not from the bush”…. hahaha! Oh the priceless memories of childhood back home!

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