Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on test.
It started when you were really young, testing me.
Figuring out what your limits were, what you could get away with.
It started at 18 months with how loud can I yell and scream, how much can I show how unhappy I am, will she bend, will she give in?
And as you get older, the tests get more difficult, and the stakes are much higher.
Because that baby toddler will not remember if I failed, or if I passed with flying colors.
But at four you are already showing a strong memory
and little Ms. Me, at seven you have an elephant memory and I see you filing this test away, in the back of your mind.
I see you labeling it,
and I see your grade of me in big red letters.
I view these tests as pass/fail
but I don't think that's fair to either of us.
One wrong does not mean that we failed
even if most of the answers are wrong, maybe it just means we have to go back and relearn the material.
Really get a handle on the information and relearn the meaning of those words.
Last night, we both had an evening that I would have given us a big fail.
You tested, I failed.
I expected you to know the answers, you failed.
And once we are in that spot, the spiral writes itself.
My anger leads to you digging in your feet.
My ignoring the behavior makes you so crazy that you don't know what to do with yourself.
And, like clockwork our stubborn ways go to battle, hard.
And in the end, we both feel like huge failures.
As always, we come home, and get away from the noise, you are immediately ready to try again,
and I continue to fail...
you and us.
Because my anger spills over and I can't stop looking at the black and white test with the big red F on the top
and you just want to remind me that we don't always have all the right answers at the right time.
And you both remind me, maybe we need to go back and review this material together,
give it another shot and try a different way?
Maybe we need a little longer on this lesson, but don't give up mom.
Because if you give up now, we can't move on to the next lesson, it won't make sense to any of us.
And you remind me that it isn't always pass/fail.
That in life, tests no longer work like that.
If we didn't get it right the first time, that's not a fail, it's a reminder that the way we are learning right now isn't working
and we need more time.
Will we continue to test each other?
Of course we will.
But it is time we put away the red pen
and use a highlighter to point out all we did well
and use an eraser on what we need to go back and work out together.