Yaya’s  high school graduation was yesterday.

How fast 12 years went by..

I remember her wearing green skirt and yellow blouse in grade 1. Every Monday morning she had spelling test at her school and while I ironed her clothes in the morning, she would come to me and ask if I could quiz her on the spelling. It had always surprised me how she knew to spell words without every having to learn it, like I used to do..loudly spelling out each letter over and over or writing each word a few times till I mastered the spelling.. Yaya only looked at the words once and she knew how to spell them.

I remember her  queuing outside the classroom in grade 2.. wearing Barbie shoes, Barbie t-shirt, Barbie jeans and holding a Barbie bag. She was so tiny.. and I worried how she would cope, skipping a full grade and living in a new country.

I remember her wearing her favourite black jumper with a picture of guitar on one side and a skull on the other side in grade 3. I remember her teacher calling me up and telling me that Yaya had asked if she could rewrite her maths exam again because she wasn’t happy that she didn’t get 50/50 (she got 49)

Grade 4, she and I were beginning to have clashes.. An expected outcome when two strong willed people have to find a middle ground. I remember her telling me ” You better be nice to me, for I am the one who will be picking the old folks home where you end up eventually”. She said it oh! so seriously and I couldn’t stop laughing. I remember her listening to KT Tunstall’s Black horse and a cherry tree over and over.

Grade 5 was a blur, we were getting ready to migrate to Australia..She and her best friend had a massive crush on the same boy.. and they spent hours figuring out who should have the right to date the guy..

She only attended 3 months of grade 6 (skipped a grade) in Australia. On the first day of school Yaya had to do a spelling test and got 1/20 right. She couldn’t get Aussie drawl.. I remember how scandalized she was when she told me, her classmate invited her for a pool party and asked her to bring thongs.. (Thongs in Aus is flipflops and in Canada is G-string)

Grade 7, she was in and out of love, her friendships circle changed constantly, she was hormonal and annoying. She also had a massive crush on Cody Simpson. For a long time I was enemy number 1, however that changed, when I drove her to Gold Coast for a Cody Simpson concert.. Suddenly, I became an awesome mom.. I remember her getting the outstanding student award for Japanese, a language she only had a year to learn, when all her classmates have been learning it for 4 years.

Grade 8, she refused to write entrance exam to all the elite schools. I felt she would benefit from learning Spanish, so I registered her for Spanish Immersion program. The first 6 weeks of her Spanish immersion, every time I saw how much homework she had and how intense the program was, I wondered if I did the right thing.. 29 students started the program and only 12 completed the program. Around middle of grade 8, she and I started getting really close. She would come and lay down next to me and talk to me.

Grade 9, the highlight was the trip to Spain. She went for 6 weeks and send me one email. House was so empty without her and I started to wonder how I was going to live without her.

Grade 10, I started to see her mature in to a beautiful woman. She took great pride in getting dressed. She became more responsible and fun. I remember her laying down next to me and reading her books.

Grade 11 she joined the IB program. It must have been hard for her because all her friends from Spanish Immersion decided not to do IB. I wondered how the friendship circle of the past three years would survive, but it did. She still met her friends for lunch everyday even though they never had any classes together. I still sent school lunch for the whole gang most days.

Grade 12, I saw her determination.. IB is a lot of hard work and is known for kids burning out. I was so worried for Yaya. But she was determined. What I loved the most was how graciously she admitted defeat. She lost the dux award by one point (the first semester maths exam where she got 5 and her friend got 6) I would have beaten myself to death if I had lost being the dux and having my name engraved in the school office for ever because of one single exam. She told me ” mom, in life you win some, you lose some”.

This was her school ref letter.


I don’t know what the future holds for Yaya.. But I do know this. She is an amazing daughter and I am one heck of a lucky mom..


14 thoughts on “Finally

  1. Wow! What an outstanding ref letter! However, what thoroughly impressed me was the wisdom and maturity with which she responded to the dux loss. A valuable reminder for adults like me who tend to take losses to heart. This kid is going to be a trailblazer.

  2. Congrats Yaya!!!

    It’s definitely a milestone that is worth celebrating, especially for the parents who know they have succeeded in establishing hardworking and well rounded kids! 🙂

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