I. The Child
“Now I can’t wait to grow up.” That’s what I told my grandmother years ago.
I’m the queen of my own fate and master of my destiny.
I’ve got lost of hopes and dreams. I want to study psychology, the art of calligraphy and tap dancing all in one. I want to be a table tennis champ today and a rocket scientist the next. I want to be down on my knees digging through the pantheon of dust uncovering the world’s most ancient artifacts then zip through the velvet curtains to perform my solo with the Philharmonic Orchestra in front of thousands after which I’ll be showered with perfumed crimson roses. I’ll travel to many countries and in one isolated dream Greek island, I’ll meet my true love and we will conquer the world together –escape poisonous snakes in South America, taste the exotic dates of Oman, stroll through the romantic canals of Venice and finally rest on the fine ivory sands of the Philippine beaches.
I don’t care about the rules. Nobody tells me what to do, even my parents. I’ll come home at three in the morning if I have to because it’s my life not theirs. If something happens to me, I’ll bear the consequences. I don’t need to answer to anybody.
The world is my oyster. It is ripe for my taking.
II. The Mother
I’m not thinking of just myself anymore. Every decision I make, I take into consideration not only my well-being but those of my family as well.
Life is the most precious thing in the world. Look at my baby. See the tender little hands. The soft coo of breath that escapes from her rosebud mouth. And she’s mine. She’s all mine.
The years have hardened me. I can’t count how many time I’ve crashed and burned and got up to start again. Rent and bills have to paid. A job that will sustain both me and my family. I have had my years of freedom, squeezing my savings till they cried and zipping out of the country every time month long holidays arrive. These carefree years are gone now.
Love was not a fairytale in a Greek island but a chance encounter in a dull business meeting amongst the listless concrete walls and somber gray vinyl. It wasn’t about finding Mr. Right but somebody who is Mr. Alright amongst the drunk choices out there.
He’s beside me now, hair balding at the top, gazing at his little princess. I thought I had already achieved all of my dreams but as I look at two of the most important people in my life, I realize they have just begun. I am going to accept this priceless gift and bear the responsibility of caring for them.
As I look into my baby girl’s eyes, I don’t want her to grow up just yet. I fear for her. I don’t want her to come home late in the mornings where she’ll be exposed to all sorts of danger. My head will be filled with paranoia of the most awful worse case possibilities that will fall upon my child. I want to hug her and never let her go. I want to guide her (forcefully if it will come to that) into the right path. I want her to have the best possible life she could have. If it were up to me, I will never let her out of the house. She will always stay at my side. But fledglings must leave the nest and find their way about the world. And mothers must learn to let go and watch their children fly.
III. The Crone
I am an old woman now. My children have grown up to give me grandchildren. It’s a blessing to be around so many with boundless energy –energy I used to have. But it’s all gone now. What’s left is sated content that I’ve already done my share in living life.
I’m supposed to have wisdom in my eyes. But I have none of that. All I have are my memories which I impart to my grandchildren. They sit around me on the floor and see me as a relic of an old forgotten age of a past they never knew.
And I tell them, “Be foolish yet cautious in your youth. You only have one chance to be young. Commit mistakes but learn from them. Listen to older people because they have gone through what you haven’t but decide whose advice you want to follow. What you want is not always right for you. Cultivate the value of patience. Don’t be in a rush. You’ll get there eventually. Show respect to others. Know what you are meant to do in order not to live life full of regrets. Above all, love and give yourself to others.”
A young bright-eyed girl from the crowd of children stood up and said, “After hearing what you said grandma, now I can’t wait to grow up.”