Yeah, you read it right – my life is a lie.
No one ever wants to wake up in the morning to find out their entire life is an intricate web of deceit. Well, that’s not true. I’m sure there are those – like drug dealers and fresh graduates buried under a pile of student loans, that wish they could start their day learning that they in fact are meant to inherit millions from a Nigerian prince.
Sadly, in my case, I did not discover that my mother is in fact the Queen of England.
Instead, she decided to drop the mother of all bombs on me.
Allow me to paint a vivid picture of my childhood.
Remember that student in school who always sat in the front and wrote copious colour coded notes? The one always buried in a book and didn’t learn how to shave her legs till she was 14? The quiet one easily persuaded to “help” her “friends” write their 12 page term papers on rocks?
That – my friends – was me, a mere bi-product of the purposeful love making between an accomplished engineer genius and brilliant doctor.
They should have just made me in a test tube.
I was the genetic progeny of Academic Gods.
Or so I thought.
I grew up in a household where mental math was a game played over dinner and my achievements were marked in numerical values only to be analyzed when I was very, very good – for fun of course.
Studying was to be done between the hours of 4am to 6:45 am – strategically designed for when the child brain was most absorbent for abundant knowledge overdose.
And I did it, I committed to academia, because I wanted to bask in the glow of being a super genius – just like my mom and dad.
When I was a child, I was fondly told stories of how my parents were the picture of success – earning GPAs that were simply unheard of. Grades so astronomically and consistently high in every subject – that their teachers didn’t believe their eyes.
When the truth was that I shouldn’t have believed my ears.
A few days ago, my mother took me out for donuts.
Donuts – which I can no longer eat any more – so thank you mother for taking those away from me too.
Coffee in hand, she turned to me, her gaze warm, and said, “You know honey, when I was young I was pretty sure I had A.D.D.”
I stared at her, no, I gaped at her, no, I glared at her.
I slowly placed my donut back onto the table.
“What?” I asked, drawing out each sound from the word. My tone was eerily hushed.
“No mom, no, you didn’t.” A side note if I may, a parent that confesses having A.D.D. is eerily similar to one who comes out of the closet 30 years and three children into a marriage. One can’t help but wonder just how attention deficit could you be if your profession is DOCTOR – very much like how gay can you be if you had three kids.
“Yeah, I did have A.D.D. You know when I was in Middle School my grades were so low, my parents were so worried I wouldn’t get into med-school,” she says this humorously. Like I should laugh with her or something.
I need a moment to take this in.
Is she trying to tell me what I think she’s telling me?
Was I paying homage to false idols?
Is she trying to tell me that I wasted my designer labeled high school education at boarding school?
Where instead of reciting Le Petit Prince in my perfect over pronounced French accent- I could have been smoking pot in the forest?
Or instead of practicing pretend dissections in the library for study hall, I could have been having unprotected sex like everyone else?
Does my mother realize what I missed out on? All those morning after pills, all that alcohol poisoning, and potential illicit student teacher relationships.
We all know they happen Mrs. Robinson.
My mom’s expression rapidly changed to one of concern.
“Do you need your inhaler darling?” She asked innocently.
I was rendered speechless.
All those years I thought I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough, or didn’t score high enough – I was really within my genetical range of acceptable. Did I even dare do the mental math of how many days, hours and minutes I could have wasted doing something mindless – like – I don’t know – whatever people do in their free time when they aren’t trying to achieve academic dominance.
But then – she used the super power all mother’s encompass.
“I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.”
And just like that, I couldn’t be mad at her anymore.
Because the truth is – I wouldn’t change a thing.
No, that’s a lie. I would have changed a lot.
But I still love you mommy.
Sweet Dreams World.