The Loh Life

Trophy Children

Sandra Tsing Loh's kid gets some love on social media.

It's June, that time of year when Facebook flowers not just with cute graduation photos of everyone's kids but with announcements of the awards they've won.  I confess that I'm always a bit amazed and envious - and not just about all these brilliant accomplishments, from soccer to music to perfect GPAs.  It's also about the sheer quality of the family photography.  When something memorable happens, I dutifully hold up my iPhone, but only end up with a blurry two-minute video clip.  I almost need to record narration to explain what the heck's going on.  It's sort of a Blair Witch type thing.

Imagine how thrilled I was, then, when my PTA president snapped a perfect photo of my 11-year-old daughter and - because that's how incredibly capable she is - "tagged" it for me on Facebook!  Even better, IN the photo, as Suzy is "culminating" from fifth grade, she is receiving an award!  I hit "share" to my own Facebook page, and was surprised at the instant high!  My kid smiling!  I see why people do it!  I felt literally flooded with DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone).  It's a stress-neutralizing hormone that humans produce by just thinking about happy things, like children and puppies.  How simple!  How fantastic!  I will do it again next time Romy sends me another photo!

And now, I get to enjoy telling everyone that out of all of fifth grade - yes, people - only my Suzy won the Ellen Rubin Award.  It is for perfect attendance.

The beauty of Facebook is that it's the one place where we can cheerfully ignore each other's professional accomplishments but "like," in droves, almost anything else.  As soon as I post tidings of my kid's awesome attendance record, a chorus of well-wishing from Los Angeles to Europe immediately floods in for what one friend dubs "the Cal Ripkin of fifth grade."

Which enables other families to share their own happy news.  One friend reveals that his own elementary school child had been voted, quote unquote, "most courteous."  Another can't resist adding that her own son - now 19 - had been voted "most elegant" in kindergarten - here's the kicker - in France.  Another shares the exciting news that her seven-month-old puppy has just learned to catch a ball, with some really cute video attached.

I am halfway up the stairs to photograph this most wonderful LAUSD award my daughter also got, and I quote: 'Certificate of Achievement In the Area of Bus Riding.  For Improved Behavior on the Bus!"  But then I stop myself.  I am becoming competitive, discourteous and unelegant, and I really can't top the puppy.  But just when you think it's safe to venture back onto Facebook, we will rise again.  Because as another friend said, quoting Woody Allen, "80% of life is showing up."


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