Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Credit to Their Parent

I’ve never been one of those parents that brings out the school report for all and sundry or placed the sports trophies in a conspicuously obvious place. I’ve admired and rewarded my children for their efforts by helping them to set goals. Once the goal is achieved, they then feel the sense of accomplishment and it’s really not necessary to brag about it to others. BabyBro’s family are both bright and sporty and all through their growing years, I was reminded, along with others, of their fantastic grand final wins, their placement in gifted and talented classes and their academic prowess. Over the long term, one finished a degree and now works in a bar, the other took 5 years to complete an Electrical Apprenticeship and the other who qualified to go to university is now doing an administrative traineeship. Not that there’s anything wrong with this but all that academic bragging hasn’t played out yet. (I say yet because the ‘trades’ in Australia are definitely lucrative so JimmyD might well yet prove he’s got what it takes to make a million.)
Besides being two of the most loyal, friendly, dedicated, helpful and wonderful friends I know, my children have turned into tremendous adults without the bragging and accolades. As a single mum, I’ve tried to keep it real and help them understand the life is full of joys and disappointments and that it’s unrealistic to expect that you won’t experience a range of both.

They have learned to work to achieve their goals. ClareBear set a really early goal to go to Disneyland. I told her that if she never had “could do better’ on her report card, I’d take her when she finished primary school. She was good to her word and we had an extended holiday for 3 months in 1995. She’s had a part time job since she was 15 years old which has allowed her to travel to Japan, Vanuatu, Italy, Greece and to run her own car.

DrummerBoy’s goals were simpler . . . a remote control car, a few hours in a go-cart, a Drum Kit . . . but when he’s motivated, he too can achieve his goals and get what he wants out of life. He too has worked since he was 16 years old as a labourer, a salesman at Target and now as a landscaper and Pool Shop attendance, all whilst attending uni full time. He's spent two of his four month end of year holidays pulling data cables through roofs and labouring on posh gardens in 35 degree heat. He’s managed to kit himself with a pocket bike, a car and a trail bike (and an inordinate amount of beer and Yagermeister) which gives him hours of pleasure.

The point I’m making is that I am absolutely bursting with pride. Not just because they’re achievers but because they’re humble, hard working and genuinely nice people. So imagine my disappointment when ClareBear said last week that she doesn’t want to attend her graduation! Students have the choice but she’s so over University, which ended badly emotionally with GymJunkie dropping her on the last day, on the phone, on the freeway . . . Feelin-alright-not-feelin-too-good

I can’t say I blame her, sitting for two hours in a mortarboard and gown for the 30 second handshake amongs 1000 other students (NSW University is huge) but I did so want a picture of my lovely girl being acknowledged for 4 years hard work. Some justification for the destruction of my dining table with scalpels, model glue and fabric dyes and inks and the inability to have a sit-down meal between semesters because it resembled an artists garret. I guess I wanted some closure to four years of absolute highs and devastating lows and an official farewell to the pretentiousness of the artists and architects who called themselves ‘Tutors’ when in fact their egos were so big there was no room for serious mentoring of up-and-comers.

All’s good now. She has a good job, good money and a fun crowd to work with and it all seems so far from last year.

Ah well . . .we’ll have a very special celebratory lunch, somewhere by the sea with a view, along with the Grandparents and extended family. I’ll present her with her framed degree and just for fun, I might even make her sit there in a cap and gown!
I’m really proud of you darlings . . . you have fulfilled all my expectations and proven to me that as a parent, I did something right.


Kate said...

Congratulations! You've done a wonderful job, and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Though maybe I wouldn't eat them.

As for graduation, it is *totally* an occasion for the families, not for the graduates. I attended my high school and college graduations under pressure, and then refused to attend my master's graduation. I was married and had a child and didn't need the random ceremony, and my parents got two ceremonies out of it and I was done. Didn't bother with the next master's either, and won't be graduating with the doctorate anytime soon. Though by then, maybe I'll need to walk for my kids' sake. Hmmm...

Baino said...

Kate I don't know how you do it all, kids, work two Masters and now a Doctorate! You make me feel very lazy.