A Parent’s Make or Break Moment

I have two lovely children, Emily is 12 and Ben is 17 and a senior.  They are my reason for breathing.  They are my greatest joy.  They are my Excedrin Headache number 16, 43 and 91.  I love them dearly.

In other words, I am your typical parent.

Well, perhaps not typical.  When Ben was 10 I started writing a tweenager book entitled “Ben and the Smother Mother.”  Guess what my inspiration was?

Everyday, from the moment our kids are born, we are faced with a variety of critical and trivial make or break moments.  I’ve learned that the way to stay sane is to pick those moments.  Sadly, I don’t always pick wisely.  However, tonight, I done good.

My son is taking a really cool class called Contemporary Issues in which a social studies teacher and a language arts teacher provide instruction on one topic from two vantage points.  For the first 9 weeks they have been studying ethnicity and immigration culminating with a community-wide presentation. 

For the class they had to interview family members about their historical migration and then they had to write a paper about some aspect of their own personal history.  Then, as a group, they were to study the history of immigration and put together a multi-media presentation.  Tonight they presented to about 100 family and friends.

As I prepared for the evening, I grabbed my camera.  It was habit.  My child is doing something special therefore it must be documented.  Right?

However, once in the venue I quickly gathered that pulling out the camera would be a B…A…D. move.  It stayed safely in my purse.

At the end of all of the presentations, which were not only impressive but also very informative, the two teachers gave out awards:

Best team project

Best written paper

Now my son has a love of writing -gee, wonder where that came from – in fact he wrote his first novel when he was 13, and he usually shares what he’s written, but I had not been allowed to read this particular piece.

And the award goes to…


He was shocked – I was thrilled and the audience applauded wildly.  (In my mind it was a standing “o” but in reality it was a polite clapping).  My hands itched to reach in my purse as he proudly walked to the center of the stage to receive his recognition.

“Must get to camera” my brain screamed.  “Must have photo memory of this historic moment,” I reasoned. “Someday he’ll want to show his grandchildren,” I told myself.

But instead, I resisted.

A make or break disaster – averted. No grand mother embarrassment.  Just a proud, beaming mom with tears in her eyes clapping for her award winning son.

Do you think he’ll realize the disaster avoided and appreciate my restraint? 

No.  However, I do know that if I’d taken out the camera – the embarrassment would have potentially over shadowed his pleased surprise at being recognized for his work.



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