I have the best job in the world. I wake up every morning energized at the thought of running Rio de Janeiro, the most exciting city on the planet. – Eduardo Paes, Time Magazine
I am happy to say I have one of the best families in the world (that’s apart from having one of the best jobs in the world). The italics are intentional to emphasize what I mean. And it is good to wake up in the morning to get into laughter, bickering, planning, arguing and doing everything weirdly normal that most ordinary families do.
But I did a homerun this year. Drumroll, please! After 31 years of playing it rough and rugged on life’s court. I remembered moving my children from a public school to a private one. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made. I can hardly afford it. But I took the plunge anyway. It was one of the best things I did in life – never compromise with education.
No offense meant on public schools. I graduated from one and openly proud of the fact. My mother, sister, cousins, uncles and aunts were public school teachers. But through the years, a lot of needed changes in the public school system that should have happened didn’t happen. This is one long blog of its own – let’s leave it here for the meantime.
Our life as a family was one hard, challenging step at a time. There were fun times. But most of the time they were outweighed by the tough ones. I am glad we’ve gone through a lot of the latter. We now more than appreciate what we have and always try to relive them – especially during meal times.
I won’t forget the scene I caught in the house one noontime when Desi and Diane were cooking cheap instant noodles for lunch. Desi was standing on a small chair because the stove was too high for him. I also recall Diane telling me (to my horror) she walked from school so she can save the fare and buy something from the bookstore.
Life was a bit better but not that smooth yet during Dyessa’s time. She has to shuttle to her grandparents and Auntie Nanette from time to time to get school supplies and allowance. Clothes were a luxury so they hardly get new ones except on very special occasions (once a year if they’re lucky). Celebrating birthdays were as austere as having street fried chicken and a bottle of soda. Ice cream and cake were a luxury then we can hardly afford.
Exam time was a dreaded event for all four of us. I am sure many of my contemporary moms would identify with me. Imagine not having a cent to pay for the tuition fee? For countless times I would request for delayed payment, or pay at the very last day – having scrimped for money everywhere – friends, family, etc.
I’ve had a good, long laugh with my sister Nanette when I told her of (my youngest’s) Dyessa’s university graduation. It was a celebration time, indeed, for the family. A homerun at all angles. Even if she was steadfast of going for a medical degree (another 6 to 8 years!) it is still a good time to count our blessings and declare winning the all-time championship trophy.
My bragging rights here I earned the hardest way you can ever imagine. Moms, you know what I’m talking about. I am passing this baton from my parents to my children – hoping they can do better than me (the choice is theirs).
As single mom, my biggest pride is, after, not the fancy material things but the achievements of my children, as well as, the right attitude towards others regardless of whoever they are – respect, generosity and kindness. Next step is for them to find the right partners. I am so excited having grandchildren!
If I could push a magic button and choose either happiness or success for my children, I’d choose happiness in a second. But I don’t think it’s as simple as that; it can be a tough world out there, and true self-esteem has to be earned. – Amy Chua, Author, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother