Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bragging Rights

To post or not to post... that is the question.

Or at least it was for me last night.

I had tucked Ellie and Sasha into bed and was looking over the pictures I had taken of Hannah and her special friend Emily earlier in the evening.    We had spent the evening at the grade 7-11 Awards night at Hannah's school.  Earlier in the week we had received a call saying that Hannah was receiving an award so we should plan to be in attendance.  I don't know a parent who doesn't like getting a phone call like that from school.  Off we went to the auditorium and waited until the academic awards were handed out.  Hannah got 5 awards for top mark in specific subjects, was on the honor roll with great distinction, and tied with her friend Emily for the highest overall average in grade 7.

It was all kinds of amazing.

But that's not really what this post is about.

While looking at the pictures of Emily, Hannah and their homeroom teacher, I was filled with overwhelming pride, gratitude and amazement.  Pride that MY kid had achieved such amazing success through an amazing amount of hard work and dedication, gratitude for the fantastic and kind teachers she has had this year, and amazement for the fact that Hannah and Emily had the exact same overall average and were able to share the award.

I had emailed a few close friends and family to tell them Hannah's news but still felt like I wasn't finished revelling in my moment.  I looked at the pictures again and thought I might share one on facebook.  My immediate thought was, "you can't do that - it's bragging".  This is usually the thought I have when I think of sharing successes my girls have.  I rarely talk about marks, accomplishments or honors my girls receive.  I'm not quite sure where that comes from.  Part of it might be from the Mennonite tradition of not "tooting your own horn" or trying to make yourself look good.

Whenever the inner tension of sharing something that could be perceived as "bragging" comes up, I am always reminded of something my mom told me when I was a young adult:  "I wished I had bragged more.  You and your brother did so many great things, but I never talked about it or shared it because I didn't want it to look like it was bragging.  Now that you're older, I wish I could go back and brag."  More often than not, even after those lines my mom spoke are replayed in my head, I still choose not to share.  This time I felt different.

I thought of how this was Hannah's first year back at her old school.  I thought of all of the readjustment she had to make with friends, teachers, and routines.  I remembered how small her school was in Burnaby, and how the expectations and demands on students were far far less than they are at our school in Winnipeg.  I remembered thinking about how worried I was that Hannah was going to struggle and find the academic load difficult when we moved back.  I thought of the way she managed her own homework and test schedule without guidance or help from me... the way she worked on assignments late into the night and finished math homework early in the morning, especially on nights she'd been babysitting.  I thought of the creative and inventive way she approached her writing and assignments.  I thought of the amazing ways she'd grown and matured and took ownership of her academic career, and how amazed I was at it all.  Then I thought of the amazing way that things work out and Hannah found herself up on stage with Emily - both enjoying the award for the highest average together.  

After that jumble of thoughts my first reaction was to say, "Damn straight she's smart and she worked hard. I want to celebrate her and this is how I'm going to do it".  Up went the picture onto facebook with a short and simple sentence about the beauty of getting to share the award with her best friend.  As I hit "post" I felt the tension rising in me again.  Don't brag.  Don't show-off.  Don't draw attention to yourself.  I had to physically stop myself from taking down the picture.  I needed to leave it up.

I read some things today that made me question my decision.  Thoughts and comments from people who are tired of moms who brag about their kids.  I shared this with some of my classmates after my class tonight.  One of my friends, Kristine, reminded me of how when someone says something, they sometimes put a negative emotion out in front of me and offer it up to me to take and receive.  It's my choice as to whether I want to receive the emotion and make it part of me or not.  In this case, I had let it rob my joy.  I had let it take away my delight in sharing something worth celebrating.

Tonight, as I write this just before heading to bed, I'm going to look at that picture and post and own every ounce of bragging it might contain.  Some things are just worth bragging about.   This is one of them.   I'm just warming up.

1 comment:

  1. Sweet Karla. I'm so proud of Hannah too. What a lovely, articulate, brilliant young woman you share your home with. Having you in her front row, cheering and celebrating, is the only rightful thing.
    I love this post.