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the work, the pain, the gain, and my son

published: 2020-08-22

After dinner, I rested my forehead on the table next to my plate, left it there for a bit.
My son said, “you’re tired mama.”
I raised my head and nodded.
“Do they know how hard you worked?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“And do they know how lucky they are to have me?”
I laughed in surprise.
“They’re lucky because I’m the type of kid who doesn’t get angry at his mother for working so hard and not cooking.”
In my mind, I counted the amount of call-inn dinners. Four this past week. And yet another weekend of work lay ahead of me. I also realised I might not be giving him the right example. Work hard, but only if you gain enough in return. Only if it gives you fulfilment. Don’t cry.
I asked him, “how would you feel if a classmate failed at a project. After which you did all the work instead. When you’re done, the classmate stands up and says it’s his?”
He looked at me, confused. “The classmate hands in your work and gets an A?”
He tasted this in his mouth for a bit, and generously decided,”that’s fine by me.”
“Really?”
“Yes, because maybe the classmate is afraid his parents will punish him. Or maybe he’s embarrassed towards all the other classmates and teachers because he failed.”
I felt like hugging my son.
“Besides,” he said, “I know I did the homework that makes the grades and he didn’t. He will fail the next project.”
I then asked, “and what if your classmate gets paid for your homework?”
A switch turned his face into a frown.
“Oh no, no no no, mama! That can’t be. For your work not his?”
His eyes clouded over and little flashes of lightning lit up a storm of anger in his mind. He firmly pressed the palm of his hand on the table.
“Then you fight,” he decided, “you fight for what’s yours. Show them the files. They can see you did it and not the classmate.”
“Who is ‘them’? Who do I show?”
“The head of school,” he contemplated, “or a judge.”
I sighed as the pain in my gut intensified, a pain that is new to me and has already ruined our summer vacation.
“This really isn’t fair mama,” he said, “I can go and talk to them with you. I’ll help you show them it’s your homework. I’ll tell them how hard you worked.”






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