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Love and other failings

I am proud today.

I know. I’ve got to watch it. But I couldn’t help the emotion ballooning.

Our son didn’t win a medal. He didn’t bring home an A for his homework.


Our son’s cello teacher told us that he was a good student and that he had potential. Now that he has grown to handle a full sized cello, she encouraged us to buy him his own instrument.

She even mentioned a community orchestra in the next suburb he could join.

He isn’t a polished musician. He struggles with his scales and he still squeaks a bit, but he plugs away at it because he likes music.

But before I knew it, I was already starting to dream big dreams for him. With the right pushing who knows what he could achieve? My tiger mum instincts came out roaring.

My husband was quick to douse my enthusiasm.

“Let the boy be,” he tut-tutted.

He was right of course. Our son was a good student because he enjoyed music. He showed promise because he liked what he was doing.

The last thing our son needed was his over zealous mother, who really didn’t know much about music, bossing him to practise for hours. I was this close to ruining it for him.

So I bit my tongue. Sort of. Well, I did encourage the idea of taking part in that community orchestra.

“But mum, it’s on a Saturday!” cried my horrified teenager.

“Well, it would be something interesting to do instead of watching YouTube the whole day,” I respond.

“But I LIKE watching YouTube all day!”

I pushed harder. The boy was close to tears. His father heroically intervened by saying we will find out more about it — how long it goes for and the commitment required.

“Aggie, let’s just wait and see what we find out first, before rushing into this,” my husband muttered with one eye on our boy and the other on me.

All very sensible.

And frustrating.

I wasn’t raised like this. I was supported and pushed to achieve when I was younger. It wasn’t an easy path, but I got the results.

Then again, it all doesn’t matter now. That life didn’t make me happy. And I found a large chunk of my life sometimes difficult to endure.

You’d think I would learn from experience. But that pride and ambition is difficult to set aside, especially when you want the best for your child.

Ha! “The best”. What is the best any way?

In my heart of hearts I want my son to live a life of meaning and purpose. Something that would make him want to get up in the morning and fight another day. A life that is filled with God’s goodness, mercy and provision poured out to him every day. One that will always assure him of God’s overwhelming love for him.

When he was little, our boy would say to me as I left for work, “Work hard mum. Do good. Inspire someone today.”

The memory still makes me smile. He knew what made me tick. Even when he was ten years old.

So I stopped pushing. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t what I was used to. But I also found the results of what I was used to not worth it in the end.

In the end I found something better. I found faith and amazing, wonderful experiences followed. It helped me through many difficulties and made me so thankful for the good times.

I didn’t expect it to change my life so radically.

I am still proud of my son. I love the fact he enjoys music in a way that I do not.

But I also love that he is growing up to be a boy who waves to people selling the Big Issue in our neighbourhood. A boy who shows kindness to people and animals. I am proud of the young man he is slowly becoming.

And I am grateful God has blessed me with this human for a while.

After much frustration, I’ve come to the sad and uncomfortable conclusion that our boy doesn’t need to be a super star musician if he doesn’t want that path. That “best” needs to be what’s best for him.

And once again, my love has unmasked my failings. It’s shown me how my own ambition and worldly pride can so easily cloud his needs and wants.

I know I must hold off my “enthusiasm”, wait for him to find his way and be his cheer squad when he needs it.

But to be fair, no one told me how difficult that is to do.

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October 2020
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