Wednesday is a working day which I always go by walk since the workplace is only five minutes away from home. To have your source to earn money that close is such a luxury, knowing you live in one of the city with the worst traffic jam in the world.
My mind wandered whenever I walked home after work. Unlike the departure which I often do in a rush, going home was more relax. I took small and slow walks while looking at the sunset sky. Today’s topic was related to small conversations I had with my first student today.
Before lesson, she told me that she almost didn’t come for the lesson. When I asked why she answered because no one could escort her to the course place and her mom forbid her to walk alone. For additional informations, she was a six grader and her school was just three minutes walk from the course.
If I were not a mother when I heard her story, my first reaction would be, “seriously? You would miss the class JUST BECAUSE your mom didn’t allow you walked alone from your three minutes away school to this place?”
Then I would continue bashing here and there alone in my mind.
But, the reality is I am now a mother, so instead of saying those words above, my answered was, ” Ah, I see. So, how did you manage to get here?”. She said lucky there was a friend whose car could send her here so she didn’t miss today’s lesson.
I suddenly remembered my mother (again). Remembered what she did to me twenty until eightheen years ago. She left me with my grandmother when my dad was appointed to other province outside Java. She took the other two moved and left me here.
Reasons? I went to the best junior high school here which the way to be there was not easy at all, and another unexpected circumstance happened. I passed the grade six piano exam in YPM. Those two reasons were bold enough for my mum to left me here alone.
Was I happy? Not really. I had to move to my grandma’s house and had a very much further distance to school and the music school. It took about 15 minutes from home to my school and 20 minutes to the music school. Moved to my grandma’s house made the number almost four times bigger.
Not only the distance, the means of transportations were totally different. I used a pick up car to send me to and from the school before,while mostly my mom or dad sent me to the music school. Either by public transportation or by car. But, it didn’t matter. The route was easy.
When I lived in my grandma’s, I had to go an hour earlier to school so I could catch the bus before it was too crowded. I went with the bus from where it started until its last stop. Then, I should continue with another small bus to the school. I often had to stand all the way. It was hot and tired. Even more, for the next bus, I had to fight with lots of people to get a seat because it was office hours.
The bus driver prefered to take the workers than schoolers because of fare difference. I clearly remembered how I hated those morning routine. I arrived school with such exhausted state, full of sweat and absolutely with almost zero spirit. If only those eye-candy seniors didn’t exist, I didn’t know what else could improve my daily bad mood every morning.
So, I went to school facing those struggle, wouldn’t it be fair the back home trip was easier? Sadly, not.
The back home route was pretty different. It was a bit easier because it wasn’t office hour. BUT,the problem is there was only one bus who had direct route to my grandma’s area, and it came every AN HOUR. I had alternative choices, by taking small buses, but I had to change four times until I arrived in front of the gate.
I just realize where one of my golden rule came from. I chose the same thing about bus and man. No matter how long it would take, I prefered waiting for the one who took me directly to my destination. Although I had to wait longer, it didn’t matter because it was more comfortable with the air con and I could enjoy the big and spacey seat all by myself. Of course a bit pricey, but it was worth it. Changing from one to another was, is, and will never be my style.
I spent time sitting on the bus shelter while watching the cars passed by. No mobile phone with internet was available to make the waiting more enjoyable. I waited religiously, couldn’t help being so sleepy and even slept by sitting.
When the bus was already on my sight, I stood up and ran toward it, waved my hands hard to make sure I was visible enough for such a huge bus. I slept through all the way on the bus. Once missed the bus because the driver didn’t saw me coming, I was crying hard. Like a stupid person. Went back sitting on the bus shelter repeated the waiting for the next bus. For a fourteen years old girl, that time life felt so hard. And unfair.
The back home trip from the music school was nothing easy too. For me, I disliked it more than the morning trip to the school. It was because I had to go to terminal to get the bus home. It was a bit scary since I finished my lesson after maghrib. Even worse, this one bus was non air con and it walked soooo slowly because it didn’t have many passengers. So, it stopped every few meters to wait for passenger. Everytime it stopped, I really felt like crying thinking for how much longer until I would be really home. The piano lesson was already hard, this back home trip made it even harder.
If above the fourteen years old girl felt life was hard and unfair, here she would add two words : scary and frustrating. So, hard, unfair, scary, and frustrating, it was.
Things got a bit better when in one day I used my head and eyes to look at things during the morning trip to the school instead of sleeping. I realized that the bus passed an alternative route to my school, from the opposite direction. If I stopped in one of the shelter, I only had to walk few meters until I met that small bus to my school. It was the same bus, with opposite direction, which means, very very less passengers.
Even better, there were a lot of it! Since it came from the other direction, it didn’t stopped exactly in front of the school. I had to use crossing bridge once more. But, who cares?
This new route invention totally changed my life, and my cousin. I went to school with my cousin brother together when he went for work. I was so excited waiting for tomorrow to try this new route. I
I went at the same time like usual, then took the bus. If before, it was a very long route, this time, I was only being in the bus not more than 15 minutes. Walked to the small bus stop where one of it was already waiting for me, then once I boarded, no more waiting. The traffic was very very nice. I stopped then I was crossing the bridge happily. If the old route it took me one and half an hour until I arrived at school, with this new one, it only took forty minutes. It reduced half time of the trip and tripled the happiness. I said goodbye to the sweaty, bad mood, exhausted girl in the morning. Those eye candy seniors even looked so much better.
I reflected and compared how different parents these days with those old ones. While my student’s mom would not even allow her twelve years old daughter walk alone to such very close distance from her school, her teacher’s mom left a fourteen years old daughter alone, and let her conquered all part of the capital city by herself during her morning trip to the school. Before I found the new route, I started from the west Jakarta, passed the central, south, then east, and back to the south. North was only part that I missed. I went through it every morning.
I wondered a lot, how could my mother left her teenage-puberty age daughter alone, being parted hundred thousands kilometers away, just because some school and courses reason?
This question wasn’t asked in any cynical or harsh way. It was more in astonished way. How she could have such heart and boldness to do that. If I were her, I couldn’t imagine leaving Langit alone with le husband’s mother. Whatever it takes, I prefer her being close to me. Whenever I encounter this kind of question in my motherhood, I really wish she were here in person to answer this. I desperately want to know why and how.
Still during the walking yesterday, I tried to figure out any possible answers. One of them was maybe because it was me. She had the courage to do that because the child is me. I was a mature kid since elementary. Thanks to the three years in kindergarten, once I entered elementary, I was more than ready to study. I had played enough in kindy. I studied diligently at school and at home. I loved it. Once I went home, the first thing I did wad arranging tomorrow lessons books in my bag. I shared learning desk with my sister and one could really tell which was whose by looking at the the state of the desk. One messy part and one tidy part.
Unlike my sister who was more carefree, easy going, and rebelious, which I often viewed that she enjoyed life much better than me, I was serious, dicipline, and truly lived by the rules. Maybe that was the reason why my mom was brave enough to leave me here alone. She might knew I wouldn’t go here and there after school, she might be sure, although it was hard for me, I wouldn’t skip any piano lessons when she wasn’t there. She might believe I wouldn’t spend my monthly allowance carelessly knowing how much I liked saving, haha!
But then, she was right if she really thought all those things. I was what she had thought above.
I once visited my family during holiday and I was very surprise to see how different the life my siblings had with mine. As my father was a head of a government institution in that particular province, they lived very comfortably. The big house, two house assistants, one gardener, and a driver. My siblings went to school by car with the driver when their schools were just few minutes away from home. They left fifteen minutes before the school started. My sister once said, she even left five minutes before sometimes. They had their tennis lesson twice a week, went to the beach every week and enjoyed all those delicious saefood after swimming.
No wonder that fourteen years old girl considered life was unfair. While her brother and sister lived a fairy tale life like a little prince and princess, she lived the real life as an ordinary people.
Despite the hard times I had been going through, I really want my child(ren) to be a real-life ready person once they are coming of age. For who and what I am being good at now, full credit goes to my mother. Thanks to all her decisions on me and my life, I proudly say I have been a real-life ready person since a very young age.
Thanks to her persistence, I earned my own money by working in a good music school since my first year of college. I paid my own phone bills, room rent, and more savings. Thanks to her boldness, I didn’t have any chance of nagging money to the parents experience, because I had earned more than enough on my own.
College was the highlight of my school years. All those hard times in junior and senior high school, and let’s not leave the thirteen years of music school behind, it were all truly paid off in my college years. I had the spotlight when I was more than mentally ready. It was good and it felt coming at the right time. It was the spotlight who found me, not because I was looking and trying hard to have it. It was a result of something.
I wondered if it is possible to have such result without going through those hardships and bad times for my baby.
I know the answer. But I just don’t have any idea if I could.
So many homeworks and hardworks to take, aren’t it?
I hope I am that real-life ready to make another human being even a better and tougher real-life ready person.
Because the world my child will live in later will probably be much harder, scarier, unfair, and more frustrating.
Being easy won’t help much. Some hardships will help her later to live easier, more fun, and enjoyable.
But, first thing first, I have to prepare myself to face those hard, scary, and frustrating life once again. This time, it will be harder since I had to deal with the one who has secret weapons to weaken my heart at any time in the name of love.
End of lesson.