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Turning the pages of my mothersmother diaries, I distinctly remember our heartache last year, a very painful experience we went through when our little diva Nadine was accelerated to Grade 1.  Ok, let me take a step back as you might be wondering what “heartbreak” that was, and why it should be painful when promotion to a higher grade level should be cause for happiness (imagine one year’s worth of tuition saved) and pride, of course.  We had that same feeling at first, because we thought the K+12 program would be that beneficial to our youngest and to the family, as well.

But as luck would have it, Nadine was not emotionally prepared.  She was ready for Grade 1, academically-speaking, based on her exam results but barely 6 years old, her heart was not ready.  Mike and I went through several days of argument as early as breakfast time and again at dinner, even with the older kids pleading that we do something about our precious bunso.  She tried her very best to cope, getting ready and (quietly) psyching herself up each morning, but when we got to school she would burst into tears, not wanting to be left.  The same routine would go at lunchtime, with her putting up a brave front but breaking into tears when asked about her morning classes.

At first I was in denial, being a very driven person I was of the stance that she was simply adjusting, and that like her older sisters she would soon settle in.  But in a matter of weeks her personality changed from being outspoken, outgoing and happy, to becoming withdrawn, quiet and unwilling to talk about school.  I couldn’t find the answers to my questions “Why?” and “What went wrong?” until I realized I probably do not need to know.

A mother’s heart can only take in so much.  Her anguish was enough to help us decide.

The same day she was transferred back to pre-school to complete the Prep level she should have skipped, she was back to being                                                                                                   the same hyperactive, talkative, fun-loving kid.  That very moment I knew we made the right decision.  It was a painful one, but we knew it was the best thing for her.

Now she is “back” in Grade 1, and what we considered last year’s nightmare has turned out to be a very good learning experience.  As parents we always want what’s best for our kids, sometimes to the extent of compelling them into something they may not be cut out for, without really listening to what they have to say.  Moreover, your expectations and handling strategies may not be applied uniformly to all your children, as each one has a unique personality you should first and foremost learn to acknowledge.

It is Nadine’s second day in Grade 1 today.  Yesterday at lunchtime she was chatting happily telling me her teacher is really nice, and that she has a new classmate who is crying and not letting her mom leave the classroom.  “She is just like me before, but she will be alright.”  Hearing these words from her, I can feel my heart shattering at the memory, and yet leaping with glee.  My child has learned about failure, about humility and above all, about compassion. Motherhood is a painstaking 24/7 job, but I think no other job in the world pays a higher wage.

sun*star.baguio.13 june 2013.


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