Living in the country means our mailbox is on a post by the road. BoyWonder is generally the one to bring in the mail. All this to explain why when the thick, creamy white envelope came from the high school, he got it first.
It was made out to “The Parents Of (Insert BoyWonder’s Name Here).” Not wanting to commit mail fraud, he dutifully handed the envelope to me. There was an identical envelope addressed to the parents of GirlWonder too. I didn’t think much of it.
I opened the letter and began reading aloud. “Congratulations! Your son has been selected for admission into The National Honor Society. This is a secret so please do not inform your son until after initiation.”
They really should have opened with that. There I was not 15 seconds in and already I had blown my mission. BoyWonder promised to be suitably surprised when they tap him or knight him or whatever one does. It’s a secret so I’m just going to tell the recipient, his grandparents, and like, I don’t know a few hundred, or thousand, people who read my column.
Of course, I found that if there’s one thing I can count on in life, it’s at the very moment I start breaking my arm patting myself on the back, something will come along to ground me. I believe the actual technical term might be smite me. But in the interest of sounding slightly less biblical, let’s just call it keeping me humble.
You may recall there was a second letter in that day’s mail. The one addressed to our GirlWonder? She is younger and thus not yet eligible for National Honor Society.
Nonetheless, I opened it with much anticipation, wondering what kudos I, clearly a candidate for Mother of the Year myself, might enjoy on her behalf.
GirlWonder is a 4.0 student who pulls a 104% or better in many classes. I wasn’t the least bit worried about her academic performance. I honestly figured it was some other praise in this season when spring blooms award ceremonies in addition to baseball signups (they’re endless) and flowers.
I was already reeling from the heady accomplishment of having received a letter basically saying that our son was smart and basically exonerating me for that time I may have bumped his head on a door frame when he was a infant. Clearly Mr. Wonderful and I were AWESOME at parenting. Where was our letter?
I opened that second letter to read that our little GirlWonder, Miss Honor Roll and All Around High Achiever had, drumroll please … had one too many “unexcused” absences from school.
Her brother might be smart, but her mother is purely awful at remembering to send in doctor’s notes.
Cue the anticlimactic “oh.” We weren’t in trouble or anything. It was just a sweet courtesy note reminding us that academic success hinges on students being in their seats. Apparently, if she missed too many days we would be getting an official letter from … I don’t know who actually. Maybe that truant officer who used to chase around after the Little Rascals every time they skipped class to put on a show?
Of course, Mr. NHS-to-Be was quick to point out that if she’s pulling a 4.0 and has 104% in class we can’t overestimate how little this issue seems to be impacting her academically. In fact, he proposed that this means she — and the school — are so good that she can learn it all in less than the allotted time — and they should all take more time off.
Not only are they smart, but sassy.
We are, of course, very proud of our son for making National Honor Society and our daughter for doing so well. We appreciate all the honors and awards that they receive and that we, quite frankly, hope they continue to enjoy.
We’ve reached that point where if the phrase “looks good on a resume and/or college admissions” may apply, we’re all in. We also know that with or without an official designation one thing that is not a secret is that it’s been a privilege to be able to parent. To watch them grow and thrive and earn kudos and yes — sometimes — reminders that we can do better.
If there is one thing I know about parenting it’s that it really is an honor just to be able to attend.
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