I am a grown up. My life is measured in vague shades of grey. At work, the exceptional ratings are saved for the top 5-10% and I’m lucky to see one every 5 years. (And due to recent changes, I’m certain to not see an exceptional anytime soon.)
As a parent, it turns out there is no “mom of the year” award. Even if there was, I wouldn’t win it. While I’d score high marks on basic measures like my daughter being alive and her not getting called into the principal’s office, I would get zero points on unexpected top-mom qualities like “make myself a priority”. I need to lose 10 pounds and am too frequently unshowered in public. (True story: I picked up my daughter braless the other day. I mean I had a shirt, a sweatshirt and a coat on, but no way do free breasts get you mom-award points.)
Then there is my writing persona. My short story came back last week with a kind but brief rejection: “We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us. ” I ignored the tiny voice in my head that said, they seem nice, so reply back and see if they know who it IS for. That would be helpful. Instead I did what I’m supposed to do: submit again to a new journal and not be disgruntled. I’m trying, but so far my publishing career score would be a 0%.
Then there’s graduate school. Given the vague I’m doing okay, or at least better than nothing scores in the rest of my life, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when my first homework assignment grade gave me a thrill. I mean, it was just 1 out of 1 – I just had to turn the dumb thing in – but I got 100%. Now three assignments in my grade is 21/21, still 100%. My homework grade is perfect. I have an app on my phone for school, and I can pull up my class for anyone to see and show them that I am perfect at something. (No, I do not show anyone my perfect grade. Okay, except my husband, and kid, and a couple of friends at work. Well, and now all of you readers, but that’s it so far.)
A friend told me I should print my homework assignments out and put them on the fridge, just like I would do with my daughter’s good grades. I haven’t gone that far yet, but I am wearing my little virtual gold star around proudly. Only six assignments left. Gotta go finish my reading, so I don’t break my perfect streak. 100%, just in case you missed it.