The Mother Of All Assumptions

, , , | Learning | April 19, 2018

(It may sound odd, but there is a 20-year age-gap between my little sister and me. Our dad died a few years ago, and our mom has been disabled since a car crash a couple years ago, so I take care of my sister most of the time. At the time of the story, she is six, and I am 26. It should be noted, despite me looking years younger — I am frequently mistaken for a teenager — people often think I’m her mother. This happens at a parent-teacher conference with her teacher, who I have met many times.)

Teacher: “Hello, Mrs. [Our Last Name].”

Me: “Oh, [My First Name] is fine.”

Teacher: “Ah, yes. Well, [Sister] has been excelling in reading, but her math scores are very low for a child of her age.”

Me: “Yes, I’ve been giving her extra help. Difficulty with math runs in the family.”

Teacher: “About that… I was thinking it might be due to her home life; as her mother, you’d know best.”

Me: “Oh, no. I thought you knew, I’m [Sister]’s sister. Our mom couldn’t make it, so I came.”

Teacher: “It’s okay. You don’t have to play games with me. I won’t let the secret slip to [Sister].”

Me: “Excuse me? What secret?”

Teacher: “I know you are her mother and that your mother claims to be her mother to protect you from the stigma of a teen pregnancy. It’s all right; as I said, I won’t tell [Sister].”

Me: “What?! No. I’m her sister, not her mother. I was not a teen mom. I’m here to talk about how she’s doing in school, so if we could continue?”

(She continued to make insinuations that I was my sister’s mother, and even “accidentally” used the term “mom” several more times. She had no interest in really talking about how my sister was doing in school, and I found out my sister wasn’t really thriving in her class. We had her moved to another teacher who turned out to be much better, and her math skills went up, too.)

 

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