“I quit,” I told her. And to my astonishment, she told me to do whatever I want in her calmest tone of voice.
“It’s your life,” she said.
That night, I did not bother to set my alarm clock. But I did not need an alarm clock. At five A.M. I woke up and carried out my morning rituals. I sat down at the piano but hesitated. Am I allowed to touch the piano? I looked up to see her standing there.
“It’s your piano,” she said.
Over the years I had drifted farther and farther from my mother as a result of arguments over being allowed to do things “normal” kids do. But I thought about it. My mother cares about me more than anyone else. She wants me to live a better life. She has made sacrifices all her life to get to where she is today, and she still makes sacrifices for me. She pays for my extra-long piano lessons with her retirement fund. She sits in the “lobby” of Kennesaw State University’s music building while I am in my lessons every Friday, and she drives me to and from my lessons after work. If she can make those sacrifices for me, I certainly can make sacrifices for myself.
It is Saturday night, and I am not complaining that most of my friends are at parties and that I am at home practicing the piano. My mother and her mother are in the kitchen cooking dinner. The entire house smells like Indonesian food. In between the music, I hear my father in his work room across the hall. He is packaging items he recently sold on eBay to ship. It is moments like this that make me realize just how fortunate I really am.
I believe in making sacrifices. Everybody has to make sacrifices at some point in their life. I have chosen to give up a large part of my childhood, and I do not regret my decision. It’s my life. My parents’ blood, sweat, and tears. And I plan on making the best of it.
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