Report Card Time

23 Jan

I would see my report card in the stack of mail and cringe. I knew what was coming. No matter how many A’s I got in a class, no matter how many B’s I would get picked over for my C’s D’s and F’s. I rarely got F’s, but when I did, I knew that it would be handed down with a punishment and my parents arguing over discipline.

If the report cards came on the same day, my brother and I would ask each other who wanted to go first. We would rotate, knowing that our mother would yell at us, no matter what we got. She would lecture to us about college, even though we were nowhere near the age, and then she would say no TV for a week.

And then for that week we would find ways to disobey her. One time she banned us both from watching television. So we disobeyed. She caught us. She took the cable line. We disobeyed and my brother through his engineering skills he’d learned managed to reroute the cable for when she was gone. She took the VCR, without telling her we disobeyed and managed to watch cable TV without the VCR.

We did not respect her. We could not. She who yelled at us when she had stress from work. She who yelled at us when she got home fishing for things to yell about. She who distanced us by saying she had work to do and we were not to bother her. She who would not purely play with us after I was seven years old. We never obeyed her. We only obeyed our Dad because she was never around–because she always made excuses. Because in essence she refused to take care of us we refused to obey her. We would instead pretend to obey her. We would complain to each other about her behavior. And when I found my voice, I argued with her. I tried to get her to hear my grievances. But she never learned to listen.

And report card time was the same. We did not respect her. We did not respect her who would put us down all the time. I only respected her for the knowledge she carried. I respected her out of duty, because that’s what she said she felt for us too. Duty. Obligation. And buried in there was love, but it was not love through communication and understanding. It was love through pure duty, fear and respect.

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