I’m writing a paper for my development class. In order to help us all understand the theories that frame our work, the professor has assigned that we write about three memories events from the past, and then compared our experiences to the theories about which we’ve learned. So we can defend or attack the theories with how the do or do not align with personal experience.

It’s a good exercise. It’s a great learning tool. Really, me and Erik Erikson (the author of the theory I’m using) are getting pretty buddy-buddy.

But it. is. painful.

I prayed about what experiences to use, and the following moment stuck out. So I wrote about it.

I know it’s holiday season. And I love my mama. I am grateful to my sovereign God who chose to fashion my life exactly the way He did.

But evil has a way of moving, and I thought sharing might help the ones who are hurting now to understand: It will not always be this way.

If you want to read about it, go on to the end of the post. But here is a picture of me and my momma now.  b.e.a.utiful.

i hope i look like her always

Growing up, I made pretty good grades. There was a rough stint in 5th grade where my grades got much worse (I made b’s). I’m not sure what caused the difference that year, as life had been and continued to be rather rough by traditional standards. Nevertheless, that 5th grade blip notwithstanding, I made all A’s my entire Academic career.  It was so expected that I was not rewarded for what others might consider good grades, I was grounded for failing grades (grades below excellence or A, depending on the scale).  So when I started High School and we got ranks at the end of our first semester, I was so excited to learn that I now knew where I stood in comparison to my peers. I felt like I could finally be proud of my accomplishments, knowing that my grades weren’t just what was expected, they were good! I was 9th in my class of just over 600 and I felt great about it! I circled my rank in red and put it on the fridge. It was the FIRST thing I had EVER put on the fridge other than a reminder note to my mom, and I just remember being really happy about it.  I looked forward to my dad calling so I could tell him too.

The next day, or maybe a few days later, I realized my rank wasn’t on the fridge anymore.  Because of conflicting schedules, I didn’t see my mom until a few days later, when I asked, “Hey Mom, do you know what happened to my rank? It was a peice of paper I put on the fridge.” “Oh yeah,” she replied, “I took it down.” I’m not sure exactly how the conversation proceeded after that, I just know how it ended. She said, “Well, it’s not number one.” I graduated number nine of a class that had dwindled to just over 500. I got a full scholarship to the university I attended. On awards day, I was given nine awards, one of the highest amounts of any of the seniors, or so I heard. I wasn’t there. I had long since learned there was no value in accolades. My mother told me that this was her way of pushing me to be better. That I was already so skilled, showed such potential, that she only wanted to make sure I tried harder, that I didn’t get lazy.  She just wanted me to be my best. I’m in grad school now. I have three under graduate degrees all of which I got with Dean’s List honors.  But I think it’s because I like school. I like learning. I know with all certainty that I did not ever try to be number one to get on the fridge. I just never again cared to have anything on my mom’s fridge. All my diplomas are in folders somewhere, nestled next to the warranties to my sewing machine and camera.


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