I was recently offered – and gladly accepted – a curatorial position at a museum in Vancouver.
To say I was excited would be putting it mildly. I was ecstatic (and still am). The pay is very good, and everything about this position feels right. It took a solid hour before I could get my hands to stop shaking from the news.
Immediately after sharing the news with The Boy, and sending a quick email to a choice few, I called my parents to share the news.
My mom answered and after telling her my ear was met with a chorus of ‘woo hoos’ and ‘huzzahs’. Wherever she picked up the latter phrase is beyond me. She continued in an octave above normal telling me congratulations and that she was proud, and then immediately launched into list making for furnishing my imaginary new apartment. I could hear her grin from across the country.
My dad was not home at the time of the call, so I emailed his blackberry, we played email tag as he was in a board meeting, and finally connected the next day. He too wished me congratulations, and asked the normals questions like when do you start, what are the benefits, etc. Then he fast-forwarded and told me to revamp my resume as there was a plum position back home he’d heard wind of and I should apply when it comes up in the next year. Also reminded me about getting my French qualifications, and then I’m sure there was talk about jobs with pensions.
A few minutes on the phone with him and any wind that had been in my sails was completely depleated.
I told him as much, and said “Can’t you just be happy for me now, and we can think about the rest later?”
I’d take next week, just not right now. We then got into a tiff, and he assured me he was happy for me, but he just wanted me to be prepared for the future.
I was immediately transported back to 15. Its mid-terms in Grade Nine. I bring home a report card with three A’s (90s) and one B (76). He says, “Well you missed it by 4%. Maybe next year.” It didn’t seem to matter that my English paper that year was published in a school journal, or my art displayed. No, just the emphasis on a meaningless Math grade.
That moment describes so much of our relationship. I know I am focusing on the negative right now, but it seems as soon as come to him with an accomplishment, focus is always to the next. There is no reveling. I know he’s proud and only pushing me to be better, but its sometimes frustrating.
I was recounting this story to The Boy, and he expressed how he wished his parents had pushed and challenged him. As he tells it, they didn’t expect anything, so he didn’t bother until much later on in his life.
I know my dad only wants me to succeed, and loves me, but sometimes we have to stop and take stock and realize all the little successes in life everyday. If I am constantly looking forward I’ll forget that the future is now, or as someone much more eloquently once put it…
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.