Friday, April 07, 2006

Dawn's Exhibtion

Well, after all the storm und drang, Dawn's exhibition went remarkably well yesterday. She held her poise, even when she couldn't find a document or when we pressed her about points of math she didn't know very well. She could just say, "I don't know," and move on. She also managed to talk about all the things she went through this quarter with the house and how that dampened her motivation to get through her school work. She said she is learning the difference between saying you're going to do something and really doing it.

She really knew her stuff in talking about colonization and why Europeans became the colonizers and what weapons they used, including germ warfare (smallpox), to kill off indigenous Americans. She also managed to translate almost her entire report on Madagascar, which she had prepared in English, into Spanish for the presentation. She was translating her power point text on the fly and doing a very good job of it, from what I could tell and from what the bilingual teacher roped into the panel said afterwards.

The only big bummer was she didn't invite her mom. I feel guilty because I knew the night before that she hadn't invited her. I encouraged her to reconsider and asked why she hadn't. She said she didn't invite her because she knew the exhibition wouldn't be as good as it should be and she didn't want her mom riding her back any more than she already it. (Dawn feels very put-upon these days. I'm not sure whether any of it has any legitimacy or if it's all teen angst.)

Anyway, I double-checked if she wanted me to come and she said yes. Then I said, "I really think you should ask your mom." But it didn't even occur to me that I could say something to her myself. The thing is, I do feel like it's Dawn's exhibiton and I wouldn't have the right to invite someone on her behalf. So I didn't. I just hoped that my speech to her about inviting her mom would take.

It didn't. I got there and her advisor told me she literally had just found out five minutes before that Dawn hadn't asked her. I said I knew she hadn't at 10:30 last night but I told her she should and then went to bed and went to work and hadn't followed through to see if she did. Well, her advisor didn't call then. I don't know if she should have or not.

Last night I went to the house--I thought Dawn might at least have said something to her mom about it, so I said, "Muy bien hecho" (Very good work) and pointed at Dawn as soon as I walked in the door. So, the cat was out of the bag. Dawn looked surprised but not too upset. Her mom called her dad at work and told him. I got parts of the conversation but not everything. We were watching a sad TV show about two pregnant women with cancer. Both survived, but one delivered a stillborn baby because they had to give the woman chemo to keep her alive. Anyway, I spotted tears running down Dawn's mom's face and I just didn't know if it was from the show or from finding out Dawn hadn't invited her. So I felt pretty crappy, and of course I don't even know if Dawn noticed. I guess I'll have to talk to her about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey mo - i think you did exactly the right thing. Dawn is old enough to make these decisions and live with the reprocussions. You encouraged her to invite her mom and then stepped back and treated her like an adult and she made a bad decision. i think you supported her the absolute right way.

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