the imperfect storm
Mom: I am thinking of setting up a business for your brother and you.
Daughter: What’s that got to do with me?
Mom: Because if you don’t help him out, I will really make you take up law.
Daughter: (looking totally clueless) Huh?
Mom: You should be a lawyer. I want you to be a judge someday. You will be happy if you are a judge. You shouldn’t waste your intelligence…
Daughter: Who said I’m not happy?! (Big sigh)
Sounds like a storm is brewing.
Initially, one would see nothing wrong with the above conversation.
I suppose it is but normal for parents to tell their children what they want their children to become… what path they suggest their children to take. Out of love and concern for our kids, we parents, most often than not try to persuade them to choose a certain direction. Of course our choices are based on our own personal experiences, as well. We teach based on what we know. We try to influence our children based on how we lived life and we think that what made us succeed will do the same for them. We just want them to be successful and to be happy.
Nothing is wrong with offering suggestions. Nothing is wrong with telling your child you dream of him or her to be this or that someday…
Not unless you are talking to a 35+ yr old. A mother of an 11yr old, with her own family unit– her own household– and a dog, to boot. Someone who has been independent and has been taking care of her family, as well as other people’s family, for the past decade.
You simply cannot tell that person, even if she were your own child, that you know what will make her happy.
Because you don’t.
~ * ~
I have mentioned several blogs back (see Highlight of My Day) about how I decided to veer away from the corporate life and chose to be a domestic goddess. I believe I also mentioned that I came from a career-oriented family. I knew that a lot of people didn’t understand why I made such choice. I knew a lot of them questioned why I chose being a full-time-rah-rah-mom over working for some company that would give me a nice title before my name.
I didn’t mind, really. I believed that having a peaceful family life, with a happy, loving — not to mention, very intelligent– child was more than enough to make me feel successful. I derive my self-fulfillment from having the chance to make memories with my son. I never really craved for any other title. It’s not something that I miss having because I am happy where I am. Like what I always say, to each his own.
But then hearing my mom telling me a few days ago that being a lawyer or a judge would make me “happy” really almost made me blow my top. At that moment, the only thing I could think of was how little she thought of me… and how little she knew of me.
It was pretty sad, really. Sad not because what she said made me feel small about myself, but more because I don’t think she truly understands the happiness I get out of being a mother. Obviously, she gets her sense of happiness elsewhere… while I derive joy from being with the people I love, doing things with and for them, sharing moments with them.
~ * ~
My mom has always been career-oriented. We never faulted her for that. My siblings and I grew up under the care of a nanny who stayed with us until she was 85. When our nanny passed away last year, my sister and I (being the two older ones) really felt like we lost a big part of us, as well. My mom never understood why we cried so much.
Now in her 60’s, my mom is still happily working… proud to keep her title of being an attorney, and every other title possible, depending on her position. Because of her present position, she got assigned in a faraway place, gets to come home only once or twice a month. She is still happy, though. She has reached the pinnacle of her career…
Our weekends are spent with lunches, dinners or coffee dates with my dad, my sister and her family and my brother. Without our mom, though, because she’s somewhere else. We share moments here as a family, while she’s out there somewhere, socializing with the lawyers and judges like herself. And oh yeah, she’s working, too.
She doesn’t realize that while she’s out there happily being a Somebody, I am back here taking care of her household. I run their errands, manage their househelp, do their groceries. My sister and I take turns staying with or inviting our dad over when he needs company. When my brother went through some rough spot, I was there to give him whatever guidance or support he needed.
So, maybe I don’t have a title other than “mom.” I don’t introduce myself as Atty. So and so or Dr. Something something. Not even Supermodel Someone. I also see no reason to introduce myself as Writer Me when I meet with my son’s teachers or my other co-parents. I simply see no point nor reason to. But being ‘untitled’ doesn’t mean I am less busy, nor does it make my life less significant.
Maybe she is happy being what and where she is. But that doesn’t mean that I am NOT happy being who or what I am.
~ * ~
What really brings you joy? Think about it.
SGM : We all have different sources of happiness. I am happy with my family. I am happy that I get to write. I am happy with my life… Besides, i don’t want to be a judge. To me, it’s just a title.
And that was how the storm ended.
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photos via google images