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The Mom well and truly loves a good award.

I remember when I was very young, maybe ten years old, and she and Your Father had gone out west on business. Crazy D, L’il Sis and I were left in the care of a nanny whom we disagreed with, but the one highlight of the Week of Many Rules was that I had won a prize. It was a poetry contest. I had written a poem about Rememberance Day and I was to be taken to the local shopping mall to receive my award. Frankly, I don’t know how the Mom managed to leave me in such an exciting time. Perhaps she thought that there might be bigger and better rewards in the future.

Which of course there were. Possibly a year later, I won a Father’s Day Contest at the local shopping mall. (Look, growing up in North America your life basically is lived in a shopping mall, they all have different characters and some can be pretty great). It was awarded for the Ugliest Tie and I don’t remember exactly what I put on the tie, but I feel it likely took ugly to the extreme and possibly involved a lot of rotting food. The prize was $200 at the local men’s shop. I don’t recall if Your Father bought the jaunty shirt with sailboats that was in the window which I’d been eyeing.

After that, as far as awards for me went it was a bit of a dry spell. It wasn’t until my final year of high school that I again was the recipient of an award. I think The Mom took these years pretty hard especially given that most of my friends were racking up academic achievements left, right, and centre, and I was… well. i was mostly attending the classes I felt were worthwhile.

The award in question was quite a surprise given that I am who I am. It was essentially Most Valuable Player for the high school swim team. Now, I am a decent swimmer, and sometimes I’m even good. But in high school the swim team wasn’t a thing you tried out for, it was a thing you showed up to. Because of the way swimming is judged, you get points literally for turning up and getting in the water. Not a lot of points, but still. So the team was come one, come all. If you turned up often enough, you went to meets. Now, the other thing worth mentioning here is that about half the team was composed of people who swam for the local club which had in my time already had at least two Olympians. Half the high school team was trying out for the Olympic team. So, you know, winning an award with that kind of competition on hand wasn’t even something one considered. In fact, I had no idea there was an award for that. And so when my coach stopped me in the hall and asked if I would be attending the athletics banquet where the award would be given out, I believe I balked. I was told to turn up and so I did mostly out of curiosity.

And then my name was called. Apparently, it was more of a popularity contest which was meant to have made more sense but still didn’t. I wasn’t the popular girl, but I was certainly the weird one. Anyhow, I do remember enjoying telling people that I’d been the only one of my pals to have won an athletic award. This was particularly enjoyable during the few years that my arthritis was so bad I walked with a stick.

I’ve won one award more recently, for writing, and I remember being terribly excited and then horribly nervous when it came time to go to the thing where I was to accept it. I believe – I’m not making this up or embellishing – that I hid behind an elderly person in a wheelchair for most of the night and then when they were moved away, I moved to take up a position behind a potted plant.

I just don’t have The Mom’s flair for public glory. I find these sorts of things very embarrassing and awkward in the extreme.

If ever I win another award, I’m sending my friend the artist in my stead. He’s like The Mom in that regard – total ham and would eat it up. Which is just as well because it seems churlish to not look like you’re enjoying that sort of thing.

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