Last night Jackie walks in the door and says: mom, I got a failing grate in my test today. I want us to look at it together so I can learn from my mistakes. It was snowing, and cold wind was rushing through the door as I greeted her. Rufus was as usual agitated around us, happy that all his people are home.
The news that she got a failed grade didn’t shock me. It so happened that she had a test on Monday after we reviewed her homework on Sunday and spent hours reviewing the way to tackle math problems. She was excited that everything was fresh in her mind and said to me that she did well, as far as she can tell. But we all know that sometimes we can be so naive about what we think we know and what we actually know.
I said, sure, we’ll review the test and I’ll help her learn. Unfazed. But as she put her backpack down she said with extreme enthusiasm: “I was joking! I got top grate. Only a minot mistake somewhere. But I did it! I actually knew the math we practiced together over the weekend.”
Last night, before going to bed she said beaming: “I wonder if I could frame this test.”
Jackie has learned to handle disappointment quite well. Too well at times, that I was worried she doesn’t register negative feelings. No evident shame or embarrassment when she got lowest score in math for a pop quiz. Or another time when she forgot to do her homework in history and when she was called on she made it up as she went, pretending to read. The teacher was impressed with her skill but told her to write it down next time as she obviously knows how’s her stuff.
School is essentially academics but it’s also such a lesson about life in general. She tells me all. about it very day, with enthusiasm or confusion, with hope and faith, dealing with disappointment and social tensions. I’m quite proud of the young woman Jackie is becoming and I’m so grateful for holding onto hope when things were so darn challenging.