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The Pride of a Parent

Thursday, 27 December 2007

What is it about this time of year that compels people to write those God-awful brag letters? You know the ones. Those letters proclaiming the annual accomplishments of their highly gifted and talented children.

Little Penelope (age 7) managed to find the time to read all of the Newberry award-winning books while earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Younger brother Donovan (age 5) was named most outstanding goalie on his travelling club team as well as holding his first gallery showing. Not to be outdone, darling 8 mos old Shkye (the ‘h’ is silent) is completing full sentences in sign language and is already walking. Rounding out the happy family is Benson who placed third in the Westminster Kennel Show.

What about the families whose kids have struggled throughout the past year? Why is it that we never see those letters??

Little Sarah (age 7) was diagnosed with a touch of autism this year but is progressing nicely thanks to her new antipsychotic meds and a wonderful occupational therapist. Younger brother Danny (age 5) is still wetting the bed and infected the entire family with lice but on the upside did learn to tie his shoes. Baby brother Josh (8 mos) still isn’t sleeping through the night, has been crying for 8 months straight, and has mastered the art of projectile vomiting. Finally, the family mongrel, Buster, chewed up Dad’s shoe (it was a Ferragamo!), ate the babysitter’s retainer, and attacked the postman for the last time — earning himself a trip to the glue factory.

Reading brag letters leaves me with the sense that everyone I know has children who would be described as “above average.” Known as the Lake Wobegon Effect, it seems unlikely that ALL of these kids are so extraordinary. In fact, my rather limited understanding of averages leads me to the conclusion that half of the kids should be above average and half should be below average. Is it possible that only the parents of the former group write letters??

And to be honest, what are the qualities about which we should brag?

Beernut (age 7) made certain to give good hugs when saying thank you to family for gifts this year, saying that it is considerate to thank people for the thought even if we don’t love the gift. And when he’s not aggravating his sister, he is particularly kind and gentle with her. Poppyseed (age 4) has been especially helpful with the baby and when her big brother is not vexing her, plays quite nicely with him. Peach (age 8 mos) continues to bring light to all who feel the warmth of his smile. He hasn’t been sleeping so well but his cheerful disposition more than makes up for that.

And so, God, I am thankful for the children You have placed within my care. Children who with all of their foibles, missteps, sticky hands, sweet kisses, and tender souls have been gifted to me. To teach. To guide. To hold. And to love. Whether talented or skilled or bright by most people’s standards, I know that when it comes to finding their way along Your path, they are very accomplished.

And that’s something worth bragging about!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 28 December 2007 4:05 pm

    this is a fabulous post. wouldn’t the world be amazing if everyone sent that kind of letter? shabbat shalom:-)

  2. Saturday, 29 December 2007 7:31 pm

    I love reading those letters. I wish I was creative enough to make up that much crap about my kids! My kids are average… loving, wonderful kids with warm hearts and smiles. I’d take average any day.

  3. meira permalink
    Sunday, 30 December 2007 1:57 am


    I once told a director of a daycare, where I was about to enroll my daughter, that she was basically a pretty average child. I thought the phone went dead for a minute and when she regained her composure, the director said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a parent say that!”

    : )

  4. Frume Sarah permalink
    Sunday, 30 December 2007 12:28 pm

    Phyllis — thanks!! I agree, obviously 😉

    Nosher — Me too. And like I said, it’s the hugs and hearts that make for true giftedness 😉

    Meira — I LOVE YOU!! You are so like me. I remember at Poppyseed’s TWO YEAR OLD TEACHER CONFERENCE (I am not making this up!) that after they handed me her “artwork,” I unceremoniously tossed it into the trashcan and the teacher just about had a stroke.
    I said “it’s just a bunch of scribble-scrabble. I’ve saved one example and the rest is gone.”

    They thought it was going to “undermine her self-confidence.”

    “I wait until she’s asleep. I mean, it’s not as though I do it in front of her.”

    They were very suspiscious of me after that =)

  5. Monday, 31 December 2007 4:16 pm

    I used to work at an educational toy store and the vast majority of people who came in looking for stuff for *any* kid they knew thought that the kid was above average. I think adults just think kids are stupid.

  6. Frume Sarah permalink
    Monday, 31 December 2007 5:28 pm

    You might be right.

    We had always hoped that our kids would be inquisitive, but not too bright. When we got the first IQ projection on one of the kids, I cried. It is no blessing to be too smart. I think that it can make life so much more difficult. Average is easier.

    So things should be easier for two of our three…


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