Friday, October 26, 2018


Amster was updating me on her kids' achievements: their grades are solid, their friends are good people, they are respectful. There are issues, but no one is doing drugs or abusing other humans.

Congratulations!” said I, and then began to wonder why.

I flashed back to tenth grade. There was a reception in the high school cafeteria to celebrate the newest National Honor Society inductees. Standing beside my parents,  I listened to grown up after grown up congratulating my folks on a job well done.

I remember the outfit I was wearing.  I remember clutching my new NHS pin in my hand. I remember being really annoyed.

Why are they my congratulating my parents? I did all the work/”

Sure, they fed me and clothed me and made sure I had a quiet place to study and all the materials I needed to complete any project thrown my way. Sure, they set high standards and took an interest in my assignments. But I'd have done the work anyway. That's the kind of person I thought I was.

Why my parents got credit for my accomplishments was a mystery to me.

As a school social worker in my early 20's, I saw kids who were faced with obstacles far greater than mine. I marveled at their resilience and their fortitude and their turned-in-on-time homework. I never thought twice about complimenting those parents. I could see the effort it took to get that work done from the front lines; I never considered the back office.

After all, I was closer in age to my clients than to their folks. I was barely an adult myself.

I never thought about the role my parents played because I never considered its absence. The sun rose in the east and my homework was done before the tv was on and that's just the way it was.

I wish they were around so I could thank them properly.


  1. Yes, I wish I could thank my Mom. When I was a freshman in college I wanted to drop out of school, get a job in a Georgetown boutique and live in a commune. Good plan, eh? Mom got the look of steel in her eye, put me on a bus and informed me that I would be returning to school. So I did.

  2. Unfortunately, my parents weren't around much when I was growing-up. I'm amazed at how I turned out. I determined at a young age that I didn't want to be like my parents. I wanted to care about other people and do good in the world. I wanted to be there for my children and be active in their lives. I'm somewhat over-protective, but I think it's 'cause I had parents that just didn't care. I miss my dad sometimes, but then I think about how racist he was and it just makes me sad. Everyone touted him as a good man, but I also saw the mean side of him. It wasn't pretty.

    Many kids are a product of their parents, but I hope I am nothing like my parents. I want my children to be kind and giving. I hope I'm instilling that in them.

    Sending hugs!

    Stacy xxx


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