Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All apologies

"Sorry seems to be the hardest word" ~ Sir Elton John

My dearest E.,

I'm sorry. And I don't have a problem saying 'sorry' when it needs to be said. And why am I sorry?

Because I have been busy at work. Because I had to leave you with your grandparents last night as I worked into the night, first at the office, then at the nearby Starbucks cafe, then at home. Because it is only going to get worse (work) the next few weeks. Because I need to do this. Because I love my job. Because I want to be appreciated by my co-workers.

But I also love you to pieces. And you are the most important thing in the world to me. But I cannot devote myself completely to you at this moment. I want you to know that I'm sorry. I want you to know that I need to do this. And I want you to know that no matter what happens, how busy I am at work, I promise that I will be there to tuck you into bed every night and sing you your favourite lullabies.

Wish List

"When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out" ~ Elizabeth Bowen

My dearest E.,

When I was a little girl, a teenager and a young adult, I had a wish list for each stage of life I was passing through. Most times, what I wished for very material and/or superficial things, or things that would never be achieved save through hard work and perseverance. As a child, I wished for lots of toys, particularly Barbie dolls. I wished for a pink bicycle with pink handlebars and matching pink ribbon streamers flowing therefrom. I wished for a puppy. I wished for a wonderful birthday party with a huge sparkling birthday cake, a bran-tub with brightly-wrapped gifts and all sorts of fanciful games and goodies. My wishes came true, all of them, and I simply attributed it to my parents; i.e. if you wish hard enough, then your parents will make them come true. I'd forgotten all that until now, now that I am a parent and realize that the wishes which came true when I was a child, came true because I wished for the wrong things. Because I wished for material things, things that every parent would go out of their way to make sure their children got.

When I was 15, I wished I was prettier. I wished that I would have a boyfriend. I wished that I would do well in my exams. I wished that I wouldn't have to go for my piano lessons every Monday afternoon (which lasted well into the evening!) because I was terrified of my piano teacher, who'd rap my knuckles smartly with a wooden ruler if I so much as released the curvature of my fingers on the smooth ivory keys of her Petrof. I wished that I was thinner. I wished that I hadn't started shaving the hair off my legs because dammit, it was getting to be a chore to shave them every 2-3 days! Not all my wishes came true. I still went for my piano lessons right until I was 17, and finished Grade 8. I still had to shave my damn hairy legs every 2-3 days. However, I did well in my exams (my parents were terribly proud of me and considered me something of a genius, when actually, despite the As I scored, I was nowhere near the top 20 students in my school. But they're my parents, I'll give them that. Parents always think the best of their children, that they (the children) can do anything. I know what that is like now). I had my first boyfriend at 16. I even thought I started blossoming and began to look more attractive, and less chubby and childish. After all, I had a boyfriend, so that must also mean I got prettier and thinner!

Why did some of my wishes come true and the others didn't? Because sometimes, in life, you are meant to do things you may not necessarily like, but which may serve you well later on. And because some of those wishes were meant to happen anyway. I just didn't know it then. I'm still shaving my legs every 2-3 days these days, and I'm 31. The shaving that I started as a teenager, to fit in because everyone was shaving their legs and armpits, is now a life-long commitment on my part. I'm glad I never shaved my arms, because that would've doubled my time in the shower. So although I regret shaving my hairy legs, I'm also thankful that I never shaved my arms. As for my piano lessons, I'm glad for them because I wouldn't have realized how much I loved music, if it wasn't for them, and how easy it is to write songs with piano accompaniment. Because now, I can play on my trusty old Weinbach no matter how rusty or stiff my fingers feel and teach you the songs I loved so well as a child. Playing a piano is like riding a bicycle after a long time. You suddenly remember the fluidity of the movements in your fingers (legs) and allow your mind to overtake your heart, and suddenly, you're free, flying and soaring in the air.

My wishes became more for "intangible" things as I grew older. Basking in young adulthood, rollicking in college and university, discovering drink & cigarettes, and embarking on my career, I wished for more money. I wished I was cooler. I wished I was prettier, thinner. I wished there were more hours in the day to cope with the amount of work I had. I wished that I hadn't started on my Masters degree. I wished that I would meet the love of my life who would sweep me off my feet and marry me. I wished that my parents would understand me more and treat me less like a child. It was here that I realized my silly wishes would never come true.

And that as I grew older, I had to work hard to make my wishes come true. I could no longer depend on my parents to fulfill them at my whim and fancy. Some of them came true, some didn't. My parents learnt to let go, but they were still my parents, and on hindsight, I thank God that they still treated me like a child then, worried all the time about my well-being, because if they didn't, what would that mean? That they no longer loved me? That I was left to fend for myself in this world? They still worry about me this very day. How thankful I am for that now. I stopped smoking and drinking. I met your father, my beloved husband, fell madly in love and we got married. Then we had you. And I see again how silly my wishes were.

Now I am 31 years old. All I wish for is your happiness, that you will grow into a sweet, kind and thoughtful young woman. I wish that our family will be contented and humbled by our love for each other. I wish that I will be able to provide for you better as the years go by, I am working hard for our better tomorrow. I wish that I will mean as much to you as you do to me.

So, this is what I want to impart to you, E. That whatever wish list you may have, your wishes are achievable. But you need to want them bad enough. And you need to work to make them come true. Remember that you are responsible for how you dream and map your life out to be. And that sometimes, it is ok even if all your wishes don't come true, because that simply makes you more human to be flawed, than Godly and perfect.