(who had to vet this blog post before I published it hence being very true to her nature, because ah couldnt write any and everything for fear of judgement)
Last month my second gremlin came to me and told me that she was thinking of joining the March Past team for her school sports day. Naturally me being the cool mom that I am, told her that it was a great idea and if she felt she wanted to do it to go through. She had questions about it and I recounted as much as I could from my days when I was vice-captain of my house in school where sports day is SERIOUS BUSINESS and the related atmosphere paralyzed my alma mater for months. She appreciated it and felt more comfortable (ah think) however as soon as she was out of earshot I immediately called her father because ah was in d middle of convulsing under my #coolmom demeanour.
Her query, quite frankly, hit me for six because I would have NEVER pegged that child to actively participate in such an activity. Like her father I was confused yet extremely excited because chief among our concerns for her as a teen who started secondary school online Anno Covidi, was her ability to genuinely connect with other students at her school when they finally met in person. Now she interacts well with classmates when she wants to (if she has to) but she is not part of a clique or a crew and has found some measure of comfort in riding solo until she gets back home to link up with her primary school friends in the Roblox realm. (Plus she give me stories about classmates eh and some ah dem I really doh want her to mingle wid anyhow. Dey bad behaved and speedinggg).
I have never been a popular girl in school and certainly didn’t have the world of friends although I was just cool with everyone. I am part of the secondary school ecosystem though so I know there are things I didn’t want her to go through especially as the pandemic made it a million times harder. She stays in her lane though and it has been a learning process for me as her mother even while she navigates her own territory. I have had to teach myself to be gentler with her while she understands herself, to praise her uniqueness and to encourage all the ways she expresses herself. (Sis could stand to be a lil less sarcastic and deadpan though eh, is like both Daria and Wednesday living under my roof with Aubrey Plaza on speed dial).
Wrapped up in all this is the need to respect her privacy as well and take the stories as she gives them in doses. I don’t needle her with questions if I don’t need to because I know eventually she tells me what is on her mind even if it is at a time where I dog-tired and my bed calling (why these teens wanna have these random, profound, revelatory chats at late hours when mankind ready to go in dey bed is beyond me) but I do it nonetheless.
All this to say if you parent a child who under all the modern consciousness is labelled an introvert, know who your child is and don’t wish them to be anything you consider “easier” for you (or your ego). My gremlin challenges me to be a better mother as I parent her differently from her elder brother. One thing though is that even while you can predict their likes and reactions, there is always that one ball from out of left field that always keeps the thing interesting (not to mention her marching left-right-left while complaining about the hot sun, tirelessly learning dance formations and executing the routine so superbly that it went viral on social media in Trinidad and Tobago, made me so damn proud of her in a
cool dance mom kinda way, vicious pride included).