The Peak of My Life

Seasons keep rolling in and out so fast.

All year long I look forward to Fall and Winter and just when I feel I am enjoying the nippy weather, and start dusting off the clothes I seldom use, it is hot again.

This past winter -again- I picked some guavas from our neighbor’s orchard. And -again- my family complained about the very strong smell. The mostly sat outside in the patio while they ripened.

I stood one afternoon, peeling them and seeding them, then boiling them with some cinnamon sticks and a bit of sugar and the scent transported me to my home, growing up in Mexico, were every single winter, religiously, we had guavas in the fruit basket. They would fill the whole house with their tropical scent, and almost daily we had them for dessert, in a thick syrup with a  splash of condensed milk – it was one of my Dad’s favorite desserts.

Remembering that was almost hypnotic and the scent in my own kitchen today was very comforting. Nowadays I make Guava cheesecake or Guava Jam, but I mostly share it with friends, seeing how no one in my family now likes it.

My both got into the Performing arts last school year, for different reasons, but the fact is that I got to see them each collaborating in the end of school year musicals. I had a few conversations with both drama teachers and I was surprised and disappointed to find out how they struggle to get funds for the class, the sets, costumes, paying choreographers, vocal coaching, etc  Apparently, -at least in public schools- Sports get the big bucks. The performing arts must rely almost 100% on donations and fund raising.

I know there are schools which are strong in promoting Performing Arts, but the majority isn’t. I believe that creativity and appreciation of the arts is just as important as exercise; to instill the love for the many forms of arts in our children has many benefits. That is something that my mom always procured while she brought us up; even my Dad tried hard to share his passion for Opera, Zarzuelas and Classic Ballet. He succeeded in the Ballet part.   Like I have said before in my blog,  I saw my first Live Ballet Company performance when I was 7 years old, and that is when my love for Classical Musical started growing.

I love music in general, but classical music feels more like a place to me than beautiful sounds. It is like a state of mind that I frequently reach out to.

The school year ended successfully; the kids did well in their classes. My son is already driving and my daughter will soon be. Another little piece of the “Letting Go” process.  Conversations about adult life and college are more common now, about jobs, about money.  The moment when the kids leave the house and start a life of their own feels more real now, more than I’d like. I know that for every parent, seeing their children grow up and be successful in whatever they choose to do, should bring happiness and pride, and a sense of fulfillment. But,…I am not anywhere near those feelings yet.

I frequently remind them that I lived with my parents ‘til I was 29, and married just a few years later; an idea that seems totally ridiculous and out of place here and now.

About a month ago, my daughter asked me one night “when would you say was the peak of your life Mom?”

First I fell comically offended, because the way she worded the question, made it seem like I was in my 90’s on my death bed.  But I understood her question. She is at an age (15) where many things seem to go SO SLOW, like having a boyfriend or driving or moving out, or having a job.  She wanted to know when the best was coming, according to me.  I chose my words carefully to answer.

I told her, when I was little, like 9 or 10, my world was near perfect. I had cousins and friends that I saw almost every day, I went to a good school, had near perfect grades;  I absolutely adored my parents and thought the world of them, even though they had their own struggles. 

But then I turned into a teenager and started driving at age 14, I happily chauffeured my friends around, picking up, dropping off, wasting gas like crazy, making up any excuse to go out. I enjoyed a financially stable upbringing and even got to travel with the whole family. We went to Europe and Disneyworld and many parts of Mexico, and a Cruise! We ate out a lot in nice restaurants, and yet I learned how to cook a meal. High School was the best thing that had happened to me yet. I started dating and going to parties,  the world was my oyster!

And then I started College and  boy ! was that super super fun.  I met a lot of new people from all over Mexico, I loved my major (Marketing) and did very well in my classes.

But then, I got my first job! And since I was living at home, it was all pocket money! I even had enough to share and help out at home. So, another peak!

Then I moved out to California and met “your Dad” I told her.  Found a job and got married, so another peak. A bit homesick but very happy.  And soon after, I had 2 children, which brought such joy to my life, a joy that cannot compare with anything else. Super Peak!

She kept listening to my long answer, knowing where I was going. I concluded, “ I don’t have a peak, my life is a ride full of ups and downs but the curve always has been trending upward.   There’s no peak, “ I told her, “every stage of your life will have explosive happiness and hard times too.”  I think she understood.

Being a Mom to two teenagers has been rough, yes, there are (many) days in which I cannot believe how mean and cold their responses are, and those moments when my eyes get teary and my throat hurts from holding it in, takes me immediately to the mid 1980s when I was just the same snappy teenager (probably worse) with my Dad.

Those memories actually help me go on and help me not take things personal. Being a teenager is tough, hormone craze, confusion, the uncertainty of the future, per pressure, social media and all the crap surround it and the stupid and pointless pressure of College and choosing their path when they haven’t even figured out who they are. 

The one that still is and always will be the baby of the house is our dog -Cinder. We have totally migrated from pediatricians to Vets. She is the most loyal and patience creature I have ever met. She -also- has helped endure these tough years, not just me, but all of us at home. She brings the best out of us.

Another peak! Being a dog owner…for sure.

Next up….

”Three Mexicans and a Microphone”

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