My daughter comes up to me and says, “Mom, I want to rest this summer.”
I shake my head in amazement. I look beyond her and am transported to hazy images of a time not long ago when I wanted to be ballerina, dancing in my pink tutu, crown on my head, traipsing over imagined ledges and leaping. Leaping! But money was spread too thinly over four kids and there was just no money for ballet classes, or extra classes for that matter. I can even see my mother and her worn out face, hear her “No”, touch her despair, wonder why in my looking glass I seemed nonchalant.
Fast forward, I regretted not being able to take those classes. I imagined I would have been a better singer, dancer, artist, person. I did not have everything, I realized, and suddenly, there was a bitter taste in my mouth. I made a vow that my children will not suffer from want.
And so year after year, summer or not, my daughter would have little gym classes, ballet, Kumon, violin, shuffled here and there that she would sleep with her pouty lips slightly open from exhaustion, night after night after night.
This past summer, I imagined her taking a cooking class under Reggie Aspiras, continuing her violin lessons at the UP College of Music, taking up art lessons, voice and acting lessons, equestrian lessons, swimming lessons, jazz lessons…
But before summer reared its sunny head (okay, rainy head), she came up to me and said in her most serious voice, “I don’t want any classes mom,” as if knowing full well what I intended.
I shake my head in amazement.
She is tired and I have made her tired. With my desire to improve my childhood, I have made repugnant activities she would otherwise have enjoyed. I take a step, two steps, back. I insist a little on Kumon but said that yes, she can take a breather from all other activities this time.
And so I look at her while she hangs around the house, goof up with her friends, dancing while watching Mamma Mia, swimming in the neighborhood pool, playing with her puppy.
And then the memories came.
Without paid classes, I remember summers being woken by the Cascades and the rhythm of their falling rain, afternoons trying to draw stick figures in elegant dresses, writing about the tree tapping on my window, playing tumbang preso and taguan, singing Eternal Flame (via karaoke, full blast) to my crush next door, and laughter. Lots of it.
I find that the bitter taste is easing.
What memories drag you, and the others around you, down?
Text by Issa. Painting by C. Copyright 2009.
email: [email protected]