Parents brag about their kids, and if they exaggerate a bit....well, who can blame them? It's human nature to be competitive even in child-rearing. I'm reminded of a scene in a Ginger Rogers movie, Bachelor Mother, where two mothers meet in a park and start comparing their six-month-old babies weight, strength, and development. It eventually gets to the point where Ginger Rogers' character, fed up with the other woman's smug claims, declares that her adopted son can talk and has been talking for some time. She asks her fiancé (played by David Nivens) to back her up at which point he asserts that not only does the baby talk, but he can recite a lengthy poem without missing a beat. All credibility lost, she later mutters at him, "....no need to make it ridiculous!"
My dad has always proudly sung the praises of his children. To this day he still speaks of how the principal and the algebra/computer teacher of our small town's junior high both cried the day I graduated from ninth grade, because I was to be the last of Dad and Mom's kids to come through the school. I didn't see it. We'll just have to take Dad's word for it.
I try to avoid bragging about my kids too much precisely because I know everybody else is doing it. Continually. And I hate to add to the comparisons lest my kids put others to shame. Still, Facebook has created a new parental medium for exaggerated and edited claims of kids' angelic, hyper-intelligent, ultra-talented natures. After reading all the magnificent boasts in its status updates for months, I felt it was time to give my kids their due now that the school year is officially over, and the report cards are in.
Berto and Ana, my oldest, both made the Governing Board honor roll this year, for the third and second time, respectively. All three of my little students - Berto, Ana and Ella - have made straight A's all year and every year in school. Not only that, but their teachers constantly tell me how well-behaved, caring, helpful and respectful they are (which is a very welcome thing, because sometimes I really wonder after spending a long weekend with them). On top of that, they are all incredibly talented athletes. Why, soccer scouts from as far away as England, South America, Korea and Portugal have come to see Berto and Ana play! All of them agree that Berto is the best up-and-coming goalie/forward in the world, and Ana is one heck of a defender against whom not even Messi, Neymar and Suarez could prevail. I would expect my sports superheroes to become professional athletes if it weren't for the fact that I believe Berto will be a busy project manager at 13 and a CEO at 18. Ana is very likely to find a cure for a dozen deadly diseases by 25, 30 tops while writing multiple best-selling thrillers on the side. Gabriella has all the charm, energy and cleverness to become the first female president of the United States, smoothly talking our nation into allowing her to run long before she reaches the minimum age. In addition, she will be a new kind of style icon in office - one that promotes brightly-colored leggings, cowboy boots and Batman as going with everything.
Danny? Why, he's the handsomest, most adorable five-year-old on this planet who can write his name forwards and backwards, recite Hamlet and Macbeth from memory without pause, has beat his mother at board games since he was two, and when he graduates from middle school, the whole teaching and office staff will be reduced to tears as they bid farewell to the last of my extraordinary kids.
Well, there. I've said my piece. It finally came out. I tried to avoid this bragging for as long as I could before I burst with motherly pride, and I hereby testify that at least half - no, two-thirds - of what I said is true or likely to be true in the future.
However, if you're skeptical or want some balance to this boastful perspective, you can read my latest humor post at humorwriters.org about surviving a summer with my incredible children who behave so much better for others than they do for me, causing so much mischief at home precisely because they are brilliant and resourceful: Bungle in the Jungle.