Winning an award for something is pretty cool, especially when you’ve put in lots of hard work. Personally, I’ve always fantasized about winning an Oscar or a Golden Globe and have rehearsed my acceptance speech more times than I should publically admit. Never mind that that I’ve not spent any time acting. The reality is that I’ve won very few awards in my life. Compared to my children, I’m an underachiever. They get awards all the time, because that’s what we do now. Every year, for both pre-school and elementary school, I attend end-of-year class parties where each student is given an award for something. I guarantee you, none of my children remembers any of those awards. And the metals and trophies that are handed out at the end of each season, regardless of performance, well they’re pretty forgettable, too. Am I proud of my kids? Of course! But if you take the suspense out of it, where’s fun?
Now recently, a few of my progeny have stepped it up and garnered some hard earned recognition – and those events made me giddy. Perhaps a little too much, because in those moments I felt like I’d won, probably because I’ve been a loser more times than a winner.
Back in the old days, when I was a student who participated in field days, we actually competed for ribbons. They only handed out three for each event. Blue for 1st, yellow for 2nd, and red for 3rd. I earned one red ribbon and really, it was a gimme, as it was for the tug of war! I was pipsqueak and I assure you, I contributed little to our win.
Anyway, I fared better in middle school, where I won two awards. In seventh grade I was invited to Honor’s Night and believe me, I was shocked. I was an AB student up to that point, which was respectable, but my A’s were hard fought. I was by no means extraordinary. My mom asked me what I thought I was being honored for and I suspected that it could have been for social studies – my best class. To my mother’s utter astonishment (mom was a bit of a snob, with an Ivy League degree), I won the award for the most outstanding seventh grade female student in Industrial Arts (a.k.a. Shop Class). Yep! That was me. The first half of the class was drafting, and the second was spent in an actual “shop.” I worked with wood, metal and Plexiglas. I won the same award again in 8th grade, I swear to God. I may have missed my calling – I should have been an architect, or a welder.
I studied hard and did better in high school. I was accepted at all four colleges that I applied to, which I guess were rewards. At the end of the year, I was awarded numerous scholarships. People quite literally turned their heads and took notice. Oh, where has she been hiding the last four years? What those folks didn’t know was that all my scholarships were awarded based on need, not academics. So when my name was called, I didn’t experience the joy and exhilaration of a winner, but rather anxiety from realizing just how bad things were for my parents.
After that, there were no awards in college and I was never voted employee of the month, anywhere. This is a point of contention for me, because I was always a good employee – except when I worked for my dad. But that’s a whole other story…
At my ten year high school reunion, I was voted the student who was the “Most Changed.” I had to walk through a crowded ballroom to accept my “award.” It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. This change was not based on anything I’d accomplished – no, it was all based on my appearance. Very few people recognized me at my reunion, and at times it was awkward. I attended the reunion with my best friend from high school, and over and over again she was greeted enthusiastically by our classmates. I’d stand beside her and say hello, but very few people engaged me in conversation. One woman actually asked my friend, “Whatever happened to that girl you used to always hang around with?”
“You mean, Allison McGrath?”
“Yes. That’s the one.”
“Ah, that’s Allison.” Cue Marcie pointing to me.
Over and over again this happened. At first I was flattered, because I accepted the shocked reactions as compliments. Damn, I must look good. But seriously, the only difference was that I’d died my hair. I didn’t look that different, although I certainly felt different. I had a metamorphosis in my mid-twenties, when I moved all by myself to Puerto Rico for a job. It was a pretty gutsy move, and instilled a world of confidence in me that I’d never before possessed. I also learned to like myself for who I was when I was in PR, and it changed everything for me. My hair was just a byproduct of the change, it wasn’t what changed me.
I couldn’t find my Senior year picture! But this is a picture of me with my friend Kelly, in the spring of our senior year.
This is a bad copy of the photo taken of me at my ten year reunion. Somewhere I have the real deal, in Technicolor, this is a scan of the reunion flyer.
Ramble on…what I’m trying to say is that even though I’ve won a few token awards over the years, represented by slips of paper and satin ribbons, none has made a difference in my life. So I try not to take it too seriously when it comes to my own children, whether it be for winning or not receiving an award. If I ever win a Pulitzer, or that fantasy Golden Globe, I reserve the right to change my opinion.
Yesterday however, I received the best award ever. I had the privilege of watching my twin boys run in a race together. Due to Barrett’s autism, the odds of this happening weren’t favorable. Watching his first track meet last week was a thrill. Since then, a series of events led to his brother, Hunter, being able to run with him as a wingman in yesterday’s meet. I was so proud of both my boys! Barrett shaved 15 seconds off of last weeks’ time, running half a mile in 4:07. I teased Hunter after the run, because for a while it looked like Barrett was outrunning Hunter (who also runs track, but at a different school). Hunter set me straight by informing me that he could not pass Barrett, or his time would have been disqualified. Hunter is very competitive, even with his twin – despite the autism! He had to sacrifice some pride by slowing down for his brother, but he did. And the result was rewards all around!
So tell me, have you ever won an award? What for?
This post was inspired by the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt, “I once won an award for_____.” I’m cohosting this week, along with my friends Kristi and Allison. Please share the love by visiting heir blogs (links below).
And Happy, Happy Easter! And Happy Passover!
Kristi of Finding Ninee
Allison of Go Danker Mom