I was in the throes of not so genteel thoughts about the celebrant’s dad at my daughter’s classmate’s birthday party, when I was I was roused from my reverie by a turn in the discussion at hand. I’d previously lost interest after the debate on the merits of Greek yogurt versus plain, morphed into various dietary meal plans whose primary objective appeared to be the avoidance of mastication. As a person of African ancestors, who’d subsisted voraciously on meat on bone, the use of my teeth, although not usually for that purpose, ranks highly.
But I digress…these thinnish mothers were in hot discourse about key issues; one son’s weak pencil grip, another’s intermittent mumblings, and a daughter’s inverted letters. As their worrying reached fever pitch my eyebrows resided in my hairline. I had no clue, that I should be worrying about these things, as each of my perfect children display a mix of these deviations, though not all at once. All of our children, themselves unaware of the criticisms being visited on their small heads, played innocently nearby.
I attributed my lack of awareness on cultural relevance and recalled how MY so called deficiencies were approached while living in Africa. My mother no longer able to afford the exorbitant school fees at the Lebanese Community School where I’d spent a year, transferred me to a local Catholic elementary school. The administration at the new school, decided I’d merited a double promotion from 4th to 6th grade, of which I was extremely proud. When I arrived at the 6th grade I immediately began experiencing problems with math (never a strong subject for me,) compound interest calculations, in particular.
One Friday, the teacher in deep frustration, marched me to the principal’s office to lodge a formal complaint. The principal, a woman, looked me up and down and thundered; By next Monday, if she continues to REFUSE to learn compound interest, bring her back to my office and I will cane her!
I exited the office, head reeling.
That weekend, despite my mother and father’s separation, and him not being allowed into the house, due to a stalking habit, I learned compound interest with gusto. My father, stood outside the house and tutored me through the window, in full view of the next door neighbors.