I mean business.
I realised late that I missed out posting any content the entire month of October. And that was by far a happening month. I danced a typical Bollywood dance along with several other mothers for our kid’s children’s day on the 6th of October at their Primary school. This is like reliving secondary school all over again. After a gruelling weekly practice for 2 months, that event was over and done with and the pictures relating to it posted in Instagram for those who are interested in that part of my life.
This month however, I have been hit with depression - a very mild one. Basically, I am reacting to some expectations that was not met. No - not my hubby. I have long given up on any expectations from him. It’s my son. He failed in his Maths year end exams and to make matters worse for me - personally - he didn’t make it to the next level in his taekwondo grading last Sunday.
The year-end exam was somewhat a surprise - after all, I have been spending my time during the weekends and after work to revise and coach him in his every subject. Imagine my surprise when he comes home and tells me that he avoided doing any of the problem sums because he didn’t understand any of it. My heart sank. Really deep.
And the contents in his report card very neatly reflected that. I personally feel that my son’s report card reflects on me. If he failed, it’s because I didn’t coach him very well. I realised that maybe he was not getting the fundamentals right, so I checked out a reputed tuition centre, well known for its method especially for Problem sums. As parents, we checked out the trial lessons where the coach went through some P4 questions with us. I couldn’t do some of the maths because I don’t exactly know where these problems fit in real life scenarios. I mean do I really go about thinking what is ¾ of 5500 apples are in the market? I really don’t care that much unless I’m working as the picker in Red mart - where I am not. So back to the tuition - I sent the kid for the trial class, he said he was comfortable and we got him registered for 12 lessons first. If he shows some improvement, we will keep sending him there till he understands the concept. But of course, I am not going to just send him packing to a tuition class and not do my part. He has been told that since he failed his Maths, he will have to practice till he scores well for this CA1 in three months’ time. So, I will be coaching him with the same methods at home as well.
His taekwondo. He was doing ok. Though on a personal level I think that he managed to attain green belt because his Master was good to him though he was a very strict man generally. Every three months, the Master has grading events where the students are graded with the patterns they are supposed to practise. If they are doing it correctly, and if they spar well - they will be promoted to the next belt colour or level. The day before the grading usually the Master will grade personally and will give out a form for the kids to fill up. When my kid came home he told me happily that he didn’t make it for the actual grading. I was like: “What?!”
Hubby took a video of his grading - and when I saw that I had the urge to give my son a tight slap and tell him to go back home. His energy level was on par with a sloth’s. The Master has more patience than me I admit. He did say that my son will not be able to make it on the actual grading - but if he wants to attend he can do so. We took an hour to talk to him and advise him, show him video clips of Bruce Lee – just to show him how a martial arts expert’s energy level should be and even watched a Bruce Lee movie just to motivate him.
On the actual day - he did much better than the day before but the Master picked him out - asked him to do a specific pattern - and he did some mis step. He was sent for correction twice with a black belt mentor student and then on the 3rd try - the Master said that he will see my son at the CC and asked him to sit aside.
When this event was unfolding before me - my heart was palpitating and I was sweating like crazy. There my little boy was in the middle of the community centre hall - in front of maybe 100 of parents and children combined - all eyes on him. He was scrutinised by every black belt there. He was scrutinised by the parents (all wanting him to fail and make an example out of him perhaps) - and he missed one step. Instead of sliding his feet he lifted his feet - and then he was benched. I was shattered. My heart went out to my son who went back to sit so pitifully. All eyes were on him. I wanted so much to go to him, strip his martial arts uniform and green belt and throw it to the Master’s face and ask him to F off and drag my son back home.
In fact, all I did was catch my son’s eye - smiled at him and asked him to come over. I didn’t want him to be a subject of anyone’s fucking pity. When he came over to us, he was sad and downfallen. We told him its ok - hugged him and said let’s go and come back in three months’ time. His black belt mentor approached us and told us he was sorry that our son did not pass - but asked him to practice at home. We gave him our assurance that he will.
When I stepped out of the CC - I told my son that today will be the only day we go home empty handed. The next few times we come for grading in the future, he will go home with only the promotion. All my son did was nod his head. His disappointment higher than his height for that moment.
The taekwondo was over. But in my mind - I was re living that experience over and over again. I was so consumed by the defeat in my mind, I didn’t even rejoice for my husband when he finally signed a sales contract for his dream car. (That is a very big deal for all of us - more so for my hubby - but I was mentally not there).
I was angry with the hubby - for being so effing positive when my son failed. Mad at him for sending our son to the stupid taekwondo lesson. Pissed at him for letting out son be disgraced so publicly. The more I was getting angry with such baseless and childish accusations, I came to realise my son as doing the same too. He was so quiet the first half of the day being angry. Me being me - every time I come up with a typical Mother reaction - my so called Wise side counters it with reason and logic all the same time. The conversation will go like below
Me: Bloody hell! This taekwondo is so stupid. My son shouldn’t be here.
Wise me: My son clearly did not practice well enough and taekwondo is not stupid. His TV and PC addiction is stupid.
Me: Everyone is watching him. All the Indians are laughing inside at his failure.
Wise me: Seriously Hira? You are such a fucked up racist. They don’t care who your son is They are there to watch their kids. Not come all the way there to see your son being sent back home you know.
Me: My son does not need this. He deserves better.
Wise me: My son needs this episode to realise that failure and success is part and parcel of life and game. He’s not going to go through life if you don’t teach him that.
Me: I’m not going to send him to taekwondo anymore.
Wise me: What lesson are you imparting him when you take him off a class because he failed? If he falls, he must get up. He cannot be giving up on everything he fails. You saw him fail his maths because he does not even attempt it. He must try.
Me: You are a bitch.
Wise me: Thank you – now go back to being what he needs most - a friend.
I am telling you - being a mother is hard. It really is. It kills me cell by cell when he’s down and defeated and sad. I am pretty sure all mothers are. How can I be a good mother? Why do I feel this bad? Is he the way he is because of me? Am I loser parent? Why am I bothered by what other people think of my son? Can’t I raise myself to be better than these people? Am I consumed by ego? Am I consumed by the self? Yes, to the last two questions. Sighs.
I spoke to my son after he resumed his normal self, couple of hours later. I told him how I felt. I said I was not angry at him nor disappointed with him. I was just sad that he didn’t get the grading. He said he knew it when he saw me. And I told him that it was ok. That’s how people get far in life. We fail and we get up. Can you do the same I asked – and this time more positively – he said he will.
We all fail in our expectations or some one’s expectations some point in our life. I get that totally. I have failed in a lot of stuffs in my life too. I failed maths when I was in P4, failed Navigation in Poly, failed Database when doing my degree, failed to be married to a former boyfriend, failed some friends, failed to lose weight and failed to be pregnant and maybe fail in many more things in the future. But somehow, I feel whatever I have achieved is because I failed earlier on.
That’s why I don’t remember much failures, because I achieved a lot more after that. But my little boy is too young and too distracted with the TV to understand all these now. Maybe after I have smashed the TV at home - he will understand that his mum means business.