A mother’s affirmation

A mother's affirmation

When I was a senior in high school, the entire student body gathered for an Awards Assembly at the end of the year. The awards included National Merit Scholarships, various college scholarships, Presidential Academic Fitness Awards, Student Activity Pins, Athletic Awards, various Department Awards, and a Citizenship Award. According to an issue of the school newspaper that I still have in my files, I won several honors.

I came home from school that day, and my parents were both at work. So I spread out the pins and certificates and ribbons I had won and left a note with them: “Look what I won at the Awards Assembly!” Then I went outside. (The internet hadn’t been invented yet, so what else was I going to do?)

Later that evening, I found the note I had left. My mom had replied with three words: “I’m not surprised!”

No gushing. No hype. In three words, my mom managed to affirm her high expectations as well as my achievement. In essence, she was saying, “Of course you did well—I’ve never expected anything less from someone like you.” And in doing so, she subtly shifted the burden of accomplishment from “doing great things” to “being a good person.” What a gift!

Yes, I still have the medals and pins and certificates—they’re in a box in my basement, and I had to re-discover them in order to write this post.

I couldn’t find the note though. (The image above is a reproduction.) But it turns out finding the note wasn’t necessary. Those three words are written on my heart, and they helped shape the person I am today. They are evidence of a mother’s pride that is so matter-of-fact I can almost take it for granted, yet it still encourages me to be worthy of it.

Thanks Mom.

12 thoughts on “A mother’s affirmation”

  1. I have only known you for 6 years but I am not surprised. And, with parents like yours, was there any doubt you would turn out so great? :)

  2. I’m speechless.
    Parent Alert! You never know what your kids will remember when they’re all grown up.
    But I have nothing but good memories of you, Melanie. Thank God – literally!
    I’m wondering why the school didn’t tell us you were getting all those awards-we would have been there! (I guess I’m not speechless.)

    • Actually Mom, I think you were at school that day. I didn’t know it at the time, but you told me later that the school had invited you, and you and Dad were both standing in the back of the auditorium during the whole assembly. Thanks for that too!

  3. When I was in High School in sophomore year I took a test and ended up in classes they called S.D.L. (Self Directed Learning). It allowed me to learn more creatively and at my own pace. I had the ability to express what I learned thru visuals like a drawing or a mobile. I could also do a book review or present a synopsis in front of the class. Many years later I had the opportunity to begin cutting the hair of one of my teachers from that time of my life. She reminded me that I was in those types of classes during the my High School years and remembered how bright she thought I was. I asked her exactly how did they choose who would be in those classes? She asked me if I remembered taking a test. I told her yes. She then informed me that it was an IQ test and that I scored high enough to be in those classes. As soon as I could talk to mother, I asked her if she knew that. She said yes, but that all her children were smart and that she decided to not give me the letter. At first I thought how unfair it was that she did not share that with me. But as I have gone along I realized that she was right. We were all bright and intelligent. As a family we have achieved great success and have stayed humble about all that we do and have done. Thanks Mom!

  4. Heartwarming stories from real life…. Thank you for sharing.
    We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimonies.
    My mother turns 90 on Saturday. She is radiant and active and independent. She raised all 3 of us girls by herself for the most part.
    God With Us. Helping us through the hard times using his messengers to affirm us. Sometimes parents, sometimes relatives or friends, sometimes strangers. He is our glory and the lifter of our heads. One of his Names is El Shaddai…the God of “More than Enough.” It comes from “shad” the Hebrew word for “breast”…our God is also a nurturing mother, working through our moms as well as dads to nourish our character and our spirit with an abundance: our cup runneth over.
    Happy Mothers Day to all who nourish and encourage others, whether or not they are biological moms.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. They (moms) are a blessing we all too often take for granted!

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