I’m fairly sure I did not enjoy my own birth, but I am lucky enough to not remember it. Everyone else involved, however, does remember this momentous event in my parents’
This experience sounds wholly unpleasant, especially for my mother. But giving birth was just the first hassle she underwent for me and her subsequent two offspring, and it was nowhere near the most severe.
As an adolescent, I was an underachieving little snot. I never did homework, rarely did classwork, and, if I wasn’t disrupting others with one delightful shenanigan after another I was looking out the window, forming elaborate fantasies in my brain unrelated to the task at hand.
Report cards reflected this charming personality year after year. Comments were seldom positive and grades were never high. At the conclusion of one particularly memorable semester, I got a 0 in art – I hadn’t turned in a single thing.
Watching me attempt to assemble Lego structures was enough to ensure that I was clearly never going to be a carpenter – if my success wasn't academic, it would be nonexistent. What’s more, I was a voracious reader in my spare time, a paradox that no doubt drove both my parents around the bend.
So they tried everything. They tried grounding me for bad grades; they tried rewarding me for good grades. They tried helping me with my homework, they tried keeping in constant touch with my teachers. At every turn, I dodged and weaved their efforts and every six weeks my report card would indicate exactly to what extent I had done so.
At long last, they decided that the education system simply wasn’t teaching me in a way that I could learn, and they opted to homeschool me. It wasn’t really “they,” though – my father works full-time, so the brunt of my homeschooling rested with my mother.
And this is what I mean when I mention the effort she goes through for me. Not only did she elect to stay at home and teach her seemingly unteachable son, she also opted to do it not in elementary school, not in high school, but in those atrocious, puberty-ridden years of middle school.
Twelve-to-fourteen is a terrible age. It’s an age of squeaky voices and obnoxious attitudes. It’s an age where kids start to develop opinions but lack intelligence to actually back them up; in this regard I was no exception. In short, early adolescence is when school is the best thing the public service has to offer, as a full day with these "people" comes close to meeting the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
But, like a champ, my mum took on her very own snotty twelve year old, spending every day in its entirety with me, trying her damndest to shape me into an educated person.
The reason I share this extended anecdote is because today is my mother’s birthday. And, as I take tentative steps into a well-adjusted adulthood, I’m starting to realise that I didn’t become this way on my own. I have my mother to thank, for her advice (solicited or no), for her constant support, and for her unconditional love.
Even from afar I know that she’s constantly thinking of my best interests. These manifest themselves in endless positive comments on my blog, messages with safety tips, and, probably unbeknownst to my father, offers of financial assistance.
So happy birthday, Mum. Thanks for giving birth to me and raising me. Thanks for always looking out for me and tolerating all manners of rubbish from me. You have done and are doing a great job, and for that I love you.