Wait. How long has it been since I last blogged? Two months? Seems like just yesterday, I was on vacation and writing to my heart’s content. And then stuff happened – work, travel, Arcs for The Year I Left, more work, more travel, graduation, graduation party planning and packing up our house – life, I guess.
First things first. Please check out the latest edition of my Newsletter for news about our last release!
So much to talk about, I’m a mixed bag of thoughts right now. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I was asked to give a talk on the #BeBrilliant edition of Viva Women’s Chicago conference two weeks ago. I surprised even myself with the way I delivered my truth. The best thing about that experience was the aftermath of messages, compliments, emails from women of all cultures and backgrounds who were inspired by my story. I don’t regret doing this, coming out in public about being an immigrant to this country and making it out on my own. Of course, a part of this story speaks to my very “unconventional side hustle”.
But do I regret what I did?
Sometimes, I do.
And then I’m reminded of how lucky I am to even have this dilemma and all that cringing goes away.
These past two weeks, I’ve been managing through deadlines at work and client visits while trying my best to stay close to home. My youngest just graduated two days ago. The time leading up to his special day was not only filled with many activities, it had equal amounts of introspection as well. Where have the years gone? And more importantly, what have I done to make sure he’s ready to face the world? There are moments that speak to his self-confidence, his academic and leadership accomplishments, his scholarship awards that make me sure he will be an accomplishing person in this world. But there are snippets of his youth, his immaturity, the way we’ve sheltered him from pretty much any hard work or the need for self-preservation that scare the crap out of me, make me think I’ve failed miserably. And just like the two older siblings before him – when I think I’ve done well, loved them with all my heart, supported them, lead them by example – nothing I do will ever be enough in their eyes. I guess that’s the beauty of parenthood (insert sarcasm here) – you do what you do because of love despite the whacked out interpretation in the eyes of your children. If I were a stay at home mom, I bet they’d find the same things I didn’t do enough as a working mom.
During graduation, I got to catch up with my friend Ann, whose son went to school with my son. We reminisced about how Ann and I bonded over being the oldest moms in the group. We laughed when we recalled standing outside by the preschool line with our two boys, watching as the young, excited mothers walked up to the door with their child. There was something about them that showed their inexperience. The tightly clasped hand around their child’s fingers, the kleenex, the nervous energy. Ann and I had children in middle school at that time (ten year differences between our sons and their siblings) – we looked at each other with a grimace and shrieked, “we’re so old!” Our friendship was born out of that statement – and through the years, we would see each other and laugh about how clueless we were about everything going on at the school. On graduation day, Ann turned to me and said, “Remember how we were through these years? The late ones, the last ones, the ones who didn’t know what was happening? When is that? What is this for? Do they have to go?” At the end of the event, we embraced each other and said our goodbyes.
“We made it,” she whispered. “Our last one.”
And so, with that, the last page of this chapter ends on a high note. As mothers, as women, working or not, flying by the seat of our pants, half assed multi-taskers, experts or newbies – we have to be comfortable with the life we’ve given, the sacrifices we’ve made. It matters not that he may not see it now, that it may take years for him to look back and realize how much he is loved and how this love will be his anchor against the rough sea of life – because he will see it. And we as parents will live for that day. But in the meantime, I’m going to make sure I remind him of it all summer long.