Disclaimer: This post is chock full of bragging. By the end of it I pretty much guarantee you will be rolling your eyes at me saying "Easy mother, we get it, she's brilliant", but I make no apologies for it. This is not the first time I have used this space to brag, nor will it be the last. Cause guess what? She is brilliant, especially in the really important ways. Just be thankful I didn't scan in her report card and include it here for all of you to see.
Rio flops down on the couch beside me, exhausted from school as always.
"How was your day?", I ask.
"Fine", she mumbles. You'd never know how much she loves school from her lack of interest in telling me about it.
"Anything exciting happen today?".
She responds with silence.
"Ri! Get your report card!" I hear Jordan yell from the hallway.
Her report card! How could I have forgotten? Ok scratch that, I know how I've forgotten. Because I spent the morning in the emergency room with Asher and I'm still feeling a bit scattered.
Rio brings her report card and Jordan and I both try to tear into it. He gets it first and then, knowing how badly I want to see it, tries to keep it from me. He starts reading aloud the explanation of what each grade means, and the definitions of each of the learning components in an attempt to stall and get me even more riled up.
"Just let me look at it!", I screech.
I quickly scan my eyes down the page.
Meets expectations. Exceeds expectations. Meets expectations. Exceeds expectations. Exceeds expectations. Exceeds expectations. And so on. For two pages. No issues - not even constructive criticism. Her teacher's comments echo the same, and then some.
I look at Rio and my eyes are filled with tears.
"I am so proud of you lovey", as I grab her for a hug. I look at Jordan and we both shake our heads in a bit of disbelief that her report card is this good*.
Don't get me wrong - we knew she was smart and lovely and a hard worker. But we are her parents after all, and maybe, just maybe, we are a bit biased. But to see it in hard copy? To see that her teacher feels the same way? What an amazing feeling.
Later, I sit Rio down to talk about it. "Rio, do you understand why mommy is so proud of you?".
Her face flushes as expected, with a shy shake of her head.
"Well Rio, for starters, you got very good grades. Your report card tells mommy and daddy what a good learner you are and that you are doing very well with things like math and reading".
She nods and her cheeks redden more.
"But that's not the important part, Rio. Mommy and daddy would love you just as much if your report card showed us that you were struggling in school. We are happy that so far school is easy for you, but if you were having a hard time and you needed extra help, we would be just as proud of you. Do you understand that?"
She nods again. "Like some kids who can't read as well you mean? If I was like that?" she confirms.
"Yes Rio, if you had trouble with things but you tried your very best to learn, mommy and daddy would be just as proud. Because you know what really matters to us, Rio? This part. This part right here", as I point to the section entitled Work Habits, Attitude and Effort. "These parts tell mommy and daddy things like you are focused, you follow directions, you work hard, and you are a good friend who is helpful and respectful."
"What does focussed mean?" she asks. I try to explain and then she goes off on a tangent and I can sense that my window for a meaningful conversation has been closed. I think she's understood what I'm trying to say, but at the moment all she cares about is the oreo I promised her for a treat.
Rio, so far anyway, seems to have this whole school thing dialed. One day, her brothers, born very prematurely and very late in the school year, may struggle in school; therefore, it is important to us to have a positive attitude about school, no matter what the grades are. Good grades are important, you bet. But more so, it's the work ethic, being respectful to your teacher and peers, and making your best effort. That's that stuff that really matters.
*You're rolling your eyes as I promised, right? Yes, I do understand that it's the first report card of Grade 1. But we'll take each one as it comes and be proud.
Thanks Ellen, for the What Really Matters prompt and linkup.