After dropping the girls off at school that morning, I returned home and ate breakfast in the kitchen while perusing the internet. I'd been home for about 30 minutes or so when I walked into the family room and noticed Anna's binder still on the dining room table. CRAP. My first thought was to not bring it to her at school, to teach her that responsibility lesson, to say, "Hey Buddy, this is what happens when you don't pack your bag." That lasted for approximately 30 seconds and then I texted Rich and asked what he would do. I was questioning it, and in some state of disbelief because I had reminded her many times that morning to not forget it. So as I'm typing this text to Rich, I'm pulling jeans back on (I know, so rough) and getting ready to drive back to the school.
What are the consequences for forgotten homework this year? You have to complete it in the classroom during recess. And the homework that night before had been tough. They haven't had homework that time consuming since that one particular night. When I picked the girls up at school, I asked Anna what her reaction had been when she realized she had forgotten her homework. She had held back tears. Her concern was that she was going to have to redo that difficult homework during recess without any help. If I hadn't brought it to her, I would have felt so incredibly guilty.
I'm tough on Anna because she's tough on herself. This kid has never said she can't do something because she has spina bifida. It's easy to forget that she had brain surgery when she was a newborn. It's easy to forget that she doesn't have the same muscle tone as her sisters or her friends. After one of our long bike rides along the Cape Cod canal this summer, I had posted a few photos on FB. My sister-in-law had also posted photos of her kids with family friends biking along the same path. A discussion started as to how far kids were biking and until that discussion, I hadn't realized that six miles for a kid is kind of long. I knew that it wasn't easy for Anna but she had cranked along like a rock star.
Years and years ago, back at the beginning of my career in public accounting, I worked with a manager, who I was on friendly terms with. We are actually still in touch today, all these years later, and he's someone I would work with again if given the option. I remember during one of the review cycles, I felt like he was being overly critical of me. He gave me a really good review, but the recommendations for improvement, I thought, were too much and points he wouldn't have given to lower performers. When I discussed it with him, he agreed and told me that because I was hard on myself, a perfectionist, an achiever, he was harder on me when he wrote reviews. That's something that stuck with me, almost like a lollipop moment, in my working life. I never thought it would transfer over to parenting, but it has.