Growing up, I spent a lot of time wishing my parents had enrolled me in piano lessons when I was two or taught me a second (or even, third) language when I was three. In fact, I resented them.
Despite being on the dean’s list, in honour society, and first chair in the top band, I always felt inadequate, especially when the other kids were bragging about playing an instrument for ten years when they were only 12 years old. They started me in everything too late. How could my parents curse me like this? I’d often wonder.
Then, sitting in my bedroom and looking around, I realized that I am fortunate and my parents didn’t curse me — they gave me a fighting chance.
Jamaica, the country where I was born, is akin to a third world country (though not as bad as some third world countries). There are two main classes: the very rich and the very poor. Flipping through my photo album, it’s fairly obvious which class we were in, but it didn’t deter my parents — more specifically, my mom.
My mother traveled to the states for a single purpose, to bring her family here because, after all, America is the land of opportunity. She worked for a year to bring me, my dad, and my two sisters here (and she had to do it individually over a period of another year). She single-handedly plucked us from a destitute future and gave me and my sisters a head start.
I only had to live in a metal shack (yea, like the ones you see in those feed the children commercials) for the first three years of my life instead of the first twenty-something. For that alone, I forgive my parents for not starting me in everything early. Instead, I’d like to thank them for the opportunities they made available to me.
They did the very best they could with what they had, and I have everything I do because of them.
Addendum: Actually, after speaking to my daddy, I only had to live in a metal shack for roughly the first 6 months. The rest of my life, we did live in a real house (I actually do remember it, too).