A fresh layer of paint on the walls and the smell of scented Yankee Candles; the first day of school. Every other day of the school week, I see my mom in class and to address her, I try to keep it professional. Since freshman year, I have been sitting in her class and following through with each. On the outskirts of this situation, people would say it’s weird — that “it must be an easy grade.” Not exactly; the content and the expectations of me as a student haven’t changed just because I benefit from a certain amount of extended contact time with my French teacher. Do you know how many accents and conjugations there are in the French language? Or any language?
In my position as daughter, I have a grader and a provider…
…both of which help me learn. Sometimes I treat my mom like any other teacher as not to feel different from the rest. I think the biggest frustration about being the child of a teacher is the false notion that I get everything easily, that support is handed down on a golden platter. My impression is another: I’m just like any other student in the class —hardworking. I do acknowledge that she is also my mother but I have learned that, even as a mother, she is still teaching me things on a daily basis. Aren’t all parents teachers to some degree? Sometimes, the instruction is a little over the top, to be frank.
High School is a bumpy ride and your friends/family are your co-pilots.
Usually we don’t think of our parents and what they do, so we hide in a corner of our room, clearly knowing that without them we’d have crumpled shirts, eat cup noodles instead of actually enjoying real, non-processed food, and not have a care in the world about school and grades, if not for the guidance of a parent. My mom explained to me: “You are no different from the other students in my class. Of course, you have some of my genes but I believe in hard work and that things don’t come easy.” I learn from my mom in both of her roles.
I find humor in the combination, and I’m able to distinguish and separate my rapport appropriately. But most find this difficult to imagine, much less deal with on a daily basis. “Weird” and “awkward” are two words that are served up when other students imagine their own parents accompanying them in the classroom. Sure. Understandable. But this is my MOM; she gave birth to me, she’s seen me naked in the bathtub as a child, she cleaned up my spit-ups and other unhappy accidents and managed to laugh through the whole process. She’s seen me at my best and worst, for crying out loud. Now, she is seeing me learn in her class. Is that really so awkward? If anything, she’s happy to keep a finger on my progress and have faith, as parents do, that I might make it to college.
Parents are tough, teachers are tough, and life only gets harder from the time where your mom tells you Santa doesn’t exist. Everything eventually fizzles down to the reality of GPA’s and AP reading’s you thought you could skip to, instead, binge-watch your favorite TV series. The first day that I sat down in my mother’s class, I was scared. It was the time where I thought high school was a shooting zone… vicious… a place where you must fend for yourself.
On that note — that FIRST day — I didn’t realize just yet how much I would grow to appreciate my mom in her dual roles. I respect her so much more and understand her immense amount of work dedicated to my well-being. She’s like a waitress who can carry 5 trays at once. I don’t know how she juggles it all. My mom is my provider, my mentor, and yes… my grader. She’s taught me to never be afraid to ask questions, even if I sound like I should go back to the 8th-grade-level basics of the French language. I’ve grown both in her class and in sharing a life under the same roof, and that is something for which I am eternally indebted: the constant growth. Perhaps not in terms of height (I’m still pretty short), but she has certainly helped me flourish into the person I’ve become today.