I was a kindergarten dropout. People think I'm kidding when I say this, but really, I'm dead serious.
I vividly remember my little self wailing while being dressed for school, refusing to leave the house, grappling for something - anything - to hang on to so that I could not be wrestled into the car. After at least two adults managed to shove me in, I would then make my wrath known the entire duration of the ride to school, at the end of which I would grab on to the seat belt, then the car door, then the school gate, then the pillar at the entrace ... I was a small child, but strong, and, unfortunately for my parents and nanny, blessed with a great set of lungs.
I had no real concept of time then, but I do remember that at some point I stopped going to kindergarten. I guess I thought I was done and freeeeeee, without quite realizing that the rest of my class actually stayed on. I was talking about this with my mom just a few weeks ago and she said, "Cookie, we tried everything. It just wasn't worth it. We couldn't any more." More than two decades later, she still sounded exhausted.
Fortunately I grew out of it in a few months, because I did enter first grade at the right age. There was no weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the highlight of my first year of school was treating my posse to recess snacks at the cafeteria, and putting it on my mom's tab. I would strut up to the cafeteria ladies and tell them that we would all be having something and that my mom would take care of it, thank you very much. This stopped very soon after Mom got wind of it, but it was great while it lasted.
I don't remember learning anything when I was in first grade. Honestly, I don't think I even knew how to read by the end of it. I remember participating once: raising up my hand in the middle of class, and when called upon, asking my teacher if I could please leave for another recess. The funny thing is that on the last day of school, we had an all-school awards ceremony (from grade 1 all the way through to high school), and I actually believed with all my heart that I would be called up to stage for a medal. They started with the first graders and moved their way up, and even as they announced the final high school award, I was convinced that my name would be called out for My Medal.
Why I was certain that I deserved to be awarded anything at all is still a mystery even to me, but after that heartbreaking, awful, devastating letdown, by golly I learned to read. And everything else. I got my high school diploma and moved on to post-secondary studies, and I managed to pull it off alright. I guess it was an early life lesson: like it or not, hard work is what's going to get you to where you want to be.
Fast forward to last year, when I started food blog hopping and discovered that there is a universe of food blogs out there, some proudly displaying badges and banners of awards well-deserved. And I thought: Wow. If I start a blog, will anyone ever give me a banner? Small fish in a big pond? Tiny fish in the ocean, that's what I am.
So imagine my absolute delight when I read Laure Sophie's comment this morning, congratulating me on a win. I had no inkling at all! Having my picture chosen as the overall winner for the August 2010 edition of DMBLGIT, hosted by Jeanne of Cook Sister!, was a completely unexpected surprise. It's been some 25 years since that first awards ceremony that scarred me for life, and this time around, I'm still not sure how I could deserve to be awarded anything at all ... but it sure felt nice to have my name called out.
The other day we asked our little first grader what his favourite subject at school was. Without skipping a beat he impishly declared, "Recess." My husband was mortified, but I smiled, unperturbed. There's hope for him yet.