Thursday, January 12, 2006

A proud moment not shared

Feelings of guilt and inadequacy wash over me as I stare at a little red ribbon declaring my six-year-old daughter a member of the good behavior squad at her school. I wasn't there for the presentation.

When I was a child I always wanted my parents to be involved in the goings-on of my education; while they were always there to pick up my report cards and dutifully signed all the papers I brought home, I wanted more. I wanted them to eat lunch with me and join the PTA, but with so many children, those daily interactions were completely out of the question.

Now that I have two children of my own, I want to be a part of their daily schooling, not to make up for what I didn't have but so I can be there, so I will know what goes on in their lives when they are not with me. I volunteer, I eat lunch, and I go to the PTA.

But I missed this good behavior ribbon presentation. A note came home as always, but I forgot to write it down in my planner. When the day came, it was just like any other in my mind. The thought didn't cross my mind again until I saw a little crumpled red ribbon at the bottom of her backpack this morning, tossed down there and forgotten like it was nothing important.

A small token of an achievement that is one of many in her short life and one that will surely be overshadowed as the years creep along, the ribbon may not seem like much. Still, the winning of it was an accomplishment, and I wasn't there for the recognition. It's the first award I didn't see her receive. Though there will be others she will claim as her education continues, I hope that the times that I am not there for the proud moments are few and far between.

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