Monday, March 25, 2013

Night alone: reflecting the first year as a mum of a teen.

It is raining outside and I am all alone at home. It is very silent night and I can hear the sound of rain and occasional foot steps of neighbors. I take this night as a gift and will reflect on what I have done through this year as a mum of a teen since she entered the school last April. I remember the face with the mixture of excitement and apprehension in the new uniform on the first day at school. I watched her back feeling as proud as any mums can be in the situation. We didn't know how tough things would be to get used to the new life style then. We moaned and struggled together so much. By summer, I felt so exhausted and didn't know what to do or say to ease her pain and stress. At that time, I was also busy for getting used to my new work in order to gain some more financial security to provide what she needs but ironically lost time to be with her. We hit the bottom at that time. Then, things improved as she started shining again as a member of the school brass band. She gained her confidence and finally started to live again. She also passed an English proficiency test and by winter, she looked enjoying her school life with a certain purpose. But then, she lost her hearing temporarily, according to the doctor, due to the intense stress. Intense stress? Then guilt stepped in my mind asking if it is my fault. At the same time she started questioning of her hectic daily life. She works 7 days a week. Even on the break from club activity, no time to play but study for the tests. No space or time to relax and play. Without knowing what I could do for her at the end of last month, I got on the emotional roller-coaster with her again. We moaned and struggled together again with no clear answer.  That was all I could do. I felt so powerless, helpless and imperfect mum but I made sure that I was there for her when she needed me no matter what. One night, she asked me to scratch her back and fell asleep as she leaned on me. She must have been really exhausted at that night. As I felt her warmth, I felt her heavy heart as well and it was heartbreaking yet I was thankful that she allowed me to feel the heaviness in her heart.

Struggling might be something all the teens go through. Yes. It might be true but it doesn't mean it is easy. It has been a big challenge for both of us to be genuine yet  flexible enough to accept how things are at school. Last night as we took bath together, she said, "Mum, in the first year at Jr.high, I've learned life never been flat. It goes up and down all the time no matter how much you try to stabilize it. So, instead of fighting, I decided to accept it." I lost for words and just nodded, trying not to think about how she came up with such an enlightened comment. If I did, I couldn't have stopped my emotional tempest.

 I am not sure what is gonna happen next but I know that we will be ok as long as we are sincere to each other as we laugh, sing, dance and also moan together when it is needed. When she comes home, I will make sure to tell her that no matter what she deserves to be loved and admired.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Ok. I did it! I totally surprised myself. The mission has completed. I did got up on the stage in front of the crowds on the March 1st. What a leap from a mum with a little girl, wishing to find a little cozy place to live at the edge of the society to a TEDx Tokyo Teacher's speaker. For some people who are lecturers, presenters and pro-speakers,  it might not such a big deal. But for someone who leads a small and simple life, such a big event was something extraordinary. I must thank my friend, Noriko, who planted this crazy idea into my little simple mind as she posted TEDx Tokyo Teacher's speaker's application on the FB. As I mentioned before, I didn't expect myself to put myself into such a frightening situation. By nature, I think I keep my heart and mind open to something new. But I am also super self-conscious and terrified to be criticized by others. Then why did I dare to get up on the stage?  I guess my crave for sharing and communicating with others got much bigger and stronger than any anxieties and insecurities I still have inside of me. Being accepted as who I am by my family and friends is another reason to be brave and try out things I have never imagined myself doing. This year has been just awesome as my connection with others got deeper and bigger. I feel less fearful and much more liberated. I certainly have developed much thicker skin as well.

I've started reading a book about storytelling called The Storytelling Animal. I suspect that is who we are and that is what I was born to be. We read stories to know about other lives and our own. We tell stories to feel connected with each other. Via my new challenge which is to share my findings in class with other ELTs, I've already met so many unique,wonderful and inspiring people and heard so many extraordinary stories. 

In order to stay little more objective, I imagine my life like a book to write. I am the author of it and all rights served. I am not sure what next page will be like and I don't need to know how it would end. All I know at this moment is my story is getting merrier and richer with much more connections with other open souls.