When Your Child Doesn’t Receive Awards

It’s that time of year. We have completed the dreaded third grade STAAR testing, we have made it through school projects, end-of-year school parties are on the calendar, those lovely packed lunches are looking skimpy, parents and teachers alike are done… only a couple of days left. Today my youngest received her school yearbook and the end of period award ceremony took place. I knew she would not receive an award and had not received one in her 4 years at this mid-sized, Texas school, so one of my older daughters and I made a point to eat lunch with her to give her a different focus.

I was anxiously awaiting her entrance after school – today had all the appearances of a normal day, backpack unpacking, I asked about her day and then she says – “it was the worst day, another year of no awards!” My heart breaks but as a hold it together, be a better person mom that I am, I reply, “not everyone gets an award honey, you are an amazing, smart young lady, you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you that”. In her tween gaze, I see the that is what you are supposed to say, you are my mother tone as she picks up her iPad to loose herself in a cartoon or Minecraft game.

So as a parent, what do you do? She’s made exceptional grades all year and has had a few blips with friendships and will be the first to come to someone’s aid. She will give you her whole stack of Pokemon cards if it will make you happy. While I know her teachers see her great traits, I cannot make them give her an award for them. My husband and I tell her and all of our kids how amazing and smart they are. How they can do anything their heart’s desire, but we cannot teach her to not care about these damn awards!!

I thank our sweet Jesus (no blasphemy intended), that she doesn’t use social media yet and see all of her friends that received awards. She’s already mentioned multiple names of friends who won something today. I want my baby girl to know it’s okay to do your job well, do the right thing, and just be a good person, I think that is reward enough – I’m damn proud of her.

My mommy senses are going crazy right now though. I am fighting the why isn’t my kid good enough feeling. I know it doesn’t matter to her right now that I think she is flippin amazing. My prayer today is that she comes into her own self-assured nature and can just continue growing in her sweet spirit. We do not all receive awards or recognition for being “average” or just good people and that’s okay.

My youngest is an offbeat kid. She is the youngest of five, her older siblings are a good 11 to 18 years older than she is. She was our bonus baby. She’s a classic only child but she has 4 siblings. She has grown 4 inches and 20 pounds this year. I cross my fingers every morning hoping the outfit I put out will fit her. She’s hit the tall, gawky teen stage at the age of nine years old.

She gets the majority of our attention. My husband works from home and I am a SAHM. Our older kids barely received one-on-one mom or dad time every few months, as we both worked crazy schedules. They remind us frequently how “lucky” she is all the time. She is a very lucky little girl but she is lonely and craves siblings, where our older kids couldn’t wait to get away from each other. The old saying, be careful what you wish for is a double edge sword in my house.

She gets to travel more than her siblings did.. it’s cheaper to take one kid vs. five kids. This past January we got to go to New York City and spend a long weekend. We walked the city, saw Lady Liberty, Times Square, and our first Broadway show – Wicked! We were so excited and she was wrapped up in the story line. At the end of the show, she looked at me and said “Im Elphaba”. I was a little taken aback. She said “I’m the weird kid”. My heart broke.. I told her she was a beautiful child from the highest God and was a unique, beautiful human being.

I pray that my average, self-proclaimed weird kid finds her place is this crazy world. Her older sister has currently taken her and a friend off to the movies, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. Sooo we are onto a slow, summer and then fourth grade – May all of our extraordinary yet “average” kids have a perfect summer.

Until next time continue to spread grace and glitter.

UPDATE: About two days after this blog was written, I proceeded to unpack my daughter’s backpack to put it away for the summer. As I pulled out the pieces of trash, Pokemon cards, and discarded spirals, I found a large manilla envelope. Inside this very official envelope were certificates for A Honor Roll for the whole year and Good Citizenship for the whole year! I called my little one and asked her if these weren’t awards? As I proceeded to make a big deal of these very substantial accomplishments, she said but I didn’t get an award in the assembly!!! I have work to do this summer obviously!