Term has already ended for Flea and we’re already a week into the supreme work/life balancing act that is the summer holidays in a single parent household.
Truth be told, I don’t mind – I love summer. I love the freedom, I love that I can mostly work in the evenings and spend the days on the beach with my daughter (or huddled in bed watching Netflix on a rainy day).
This week, though, I started to wonder if I shouldn’t be somehow doing more PARENTING of my child. You know, worrying about her education and skills, and that sort of thing. The cause of my angst? Her school report.
Don’t get me wrong, Flea’s school report was excellent. She scored straight A’s in all her subjects and everyone remarked on what a happy, well-mannered and friendly child she is. Her teachers say she is kind, smart and has a wicked sense of humour. However… the word ‘however’ was used a lot in her report.
Flea does brilliantly in English, however her work is often untidy. Her reading is outstanding, however, she gets over-excited when writing stories and forgets to use punctuation. Flea does amazing work in maths, however, she’s easily distracted by her friends. However, however, however…
So I wondered… should we be ‘working’ on this? Should I be encouraging her to write properly in her journal? Should I be devising activities that would help her focus on concentration and attention to detail?
Fortunately, just in the nick of time, I found Flea rifling through my old memory box, which is packed with old letters, souvenirs and diaries. For some reason, my daughter found it HILARIOUS that 14-year-old me kept a meticulous list of “boys I have met” along with a description of their appearance. Apparently, John S had really nice thumbs. No, I don’t know why this mattered, either.
Anyway, in the box along with my teenage shame were all my primary school reports. Including my report from when I was exactly the same age as Flea. And guess what?
All my teachers said I was very bright, friendly, hard-working. However, I had a tendency to daydream, I scored lower than average for my use of punctuation and my writing was occasionally very untidy. My reports basically said the same thing for years.
But here’s the thing – I loved primary school. I had a lot of fun, I found the work interesting, I loved my friends, and playtime, and team sports, and I remember it as a time of being really happy and deeply untroubled by any thoughts of the future, or needing to be perfect. And that’s what I want for Flea.
So yesterday, while I worked, and Flea took herself off to write a 40 page graphic novel called “The Boy and the Magician” I remembered that what’s important isn’t that there isn’t a single punctuation mark in there, but that there’s a really, really cool robot, and it wears stripy socks. So basically – it’s already perfect.