It was a busy Saturday at the science fair with Katie. All of my older girls have made it to the regional science fair, so we have been in attendance for the past few years. Katie was up bright and early this morning to set up at the community college at 7:30am. There were many impressive projects on display this year. These kids worked hard to get to the fair this year.
Katie is a lot like me, very competitive and wants to be the best at everything. She anxiously listened to the director announcing the awards. As she nervously shifted back and forth in the bleachers she appeared to be levitating over her seat, waiting for the moment she would hear her name called. When she didn't place or win an award, I could see the disappointment on her face and the tears starting to well in the corner of her eyes. During the awards ceremony I tried not to bring attention to it.
On the way home we stopped at the store to pick up something quick for dinner (frozen pizza) and ice cream. Katie asked, "Are we having a party?" I promptly answered, "Yes, to celebrate the science fair." She looked away with a curt, "No." I immediately had a talk with her about how proud we (Pierre and I, her teachers) are of her for all her hard work. Still, I could see that she was disappointed with herself.
I was the same way. I remember how it felt not winning any awards at the regional science fair in seventh and eighth grade. I was happy to have made it as far as I did, but still, I needed a silly piece of paper to tell me my worth. Now, I know that because I didn't win a shiny medal or an award it did not negate all the victories that came before. I have to figure out how to teach Katie to be proud of all her accomplishments whether she comes in first or third or doesn't place at all.
Tonight, we celebrated all our victories, big and small, with warm brownies covered with scoops of ice cream and caramel sauce.
It was a party.