In 5th grade, my mom secretly enrolled me in a private school.
She had asked me to take a test. “It’s just a basic comprehension test,” she said. So I took it, passed it with flying colors, proud of myself and proud of the praise my mom gave me for scoring within the top 10 percentile. But little did I know, the test had nothing to do with comprehension. It was a test, an admittance test for the private school where I would be spending the rest of my middle school years.
She had betrayed me. She had betrayed my trust. From a parent’s perspective, it made sense. You want to give your kids a better education. You want to enroll them into a program that offers more for their future. But from the kid’s perspective, from my perspective, it was nothing but a loss of trust, a blatant disregard for my opinion. It didn’t matter that she had did it for my good. It didn’t matter that it was for my future. At 10 years old, I was too young to understand her thinking behind it, but I was old enough to understand that there was no trust in our parent-child relationship and that she had used the last resort of tricking me into taking the test without first asking for my opinion. Perhaps she didn’t believe a 10 year old would have mental maturity to reason and make decisions.
And truth be told, she was probably right. At 10 years old, I doubt I had the mental maturity to know what was good for me at the time. But the fact that she chose to hide the truth from me, the fact that she tried to trick me, con me into taking that test was something I would understand and I would hold it against her for years.
I grew up hating my mom because of the decision she had made. I grew up blaming her for everything bad that ever happened in my middle school years. Not making friends? It was my mom’s fault. Not doing well on homework? It was my mom’s fault. Being bullied? It was my mom’s fault. I attributed all the bad things that had happened to me during my middle school years to my mom as a result of the one time she had lied to me.
I’m not a parent, I don’t have kids yet. When I do, I hope that I’ll remember to always be transparent to them, to respect them no matter their age, and try to explain why I do the things I do for them. They might not understand, they might hate me for it anyways, but at least I’ll know that years later, when they have matured, they’ll know that I did right by them and gave them respect and trust well beyond their age as a good father should.
It’s been 15 years, and I’ve long since forgiven my mom. I love her and will be forever grateful for the sacrifices she made. I just wish my teenage years with her weren’t as rocky.