My mom was so right about so many things…
“Friends will come and go, but your family is forever. So you’d better learn to love us.” This was mainly in reference to my big sister, with whom I would fight, bicker, quarrel, and argue almost constantly until we both got into junior high.
“You don’t have to want to, just do it.” This was in reference to chores, homework, and anything else not fun but nevertheless good for me. My dad also really enjoyed busting out this saying. It really got on my nerves as a kid.
“Oh, the places you’ll go.” Well there’s some situational irony…she swiped this line from Dr. Seuss. She was so determined that I would be the best I could be, and really go places in life, and now I have gone somewhere [far far away from Mesa, Arizona 85201] and she’s miserable that I’m gone. Such is life, I suppose.
Of course there were several things she was wrong about, too. Like the time she was convinced that Summertime Boy would brainwash me to fall in love with him and sweep me off my feet and then marry me and become an abusive husband and I’d completely lose my sense of self and who was I kidding I didn’t even have a sense of self yet I was only 18 for Heaven’s sake and did I know what I was doing and was I behaving myself and why did she have such a sick feeling all the time? She was wrong about all that, certainly, but it worked out for the best. You see, because my mom disliked Summertime Boy so intensely, she funded my two semesters in Canada, that year when I first met Poor Kyle. (I bet she wishes I’d stuck with Summertime Boy. At least he lived in Arizona.)
She was also very, very wrong about me being friends with The First Canadian [not Poor Kyle], the one I met while I was dating Summertime Boy. Either she wanted me to get away from Summertime boy so vehemently that anyone seemed a better option…or she was just way, way off. The First Canadian (sounds like a credit union) was bad news all around; from top to bottom, front to back, that boy was trouble. Deciding to completely renounce The First Canadian was one of the few decisions in my life that 1) I made wholly on my own, and 2) over which I have never felt any remorse.
Otherwise, though, my mom is usually spot-on.
“You can run, Camille…but you can’t hide,” she would tell me forebodingly, back when I used to complain about how people always asked me to accompany their songs on the piano or flute. It happened a lot during high school, and it always stressed me out. I like playing the piano, but it can be a curse sometimes. Mom told me I could run far away, but as long as I was going to church, I would never be able to hide from my “gift” (it’s not a gift if anyone can do it).
It proved true when I visited England the summer after graduation. How exotic it felt to be able to play the piano at church in London!
It proved true that first time I moved to Canada. I just couldn’t seem to keep quiet when the question, “Can anyone here play the piano?” was raised. The only thing more painful than my accompanying is none at all.
It proved true when I lived in Belgium, and the congregation was practically doubled when the BYU interns and I showed up.
And it has proven itself to be very true now that I’ve settled down in Canada, for temporary permanence.
Any time someone asks me to accompany a song they’re singing, I try very hard to graciously accept. Which, quite frequently leads someone to approach me afterwards, saying, “I didn’t know you played the piano! What are you doing next Wednesday night?”
I am so okay with that. I will help someone “in a pinch” by playing the piano any time I can.
But please…please…don’t ask me to watch your kids**. Because I’m really bad at saying no. If I wanted to watch kids during my free time, I’d make a baby of my own [I’m allowed to do that now].
**Kathryn, this does not apply to you and your twins. I’d have gladly taken that deal if I could have made it work. Also, Big Sister, go ahead and disregard that part. You know I love That Baby more than any human child on earth. And since we’re disclaiming, I might as well add that anyone who is a friend or a family member is allowed to ask, too. Rachel, that goes for you, too. Jack really was a gem, and I bet Baby #2 will be equally swell. Jeff and Carmen, if you ever need a hand, give me a call. Anyone else who reads this blog…please know that I don’t particularly like kids, and I’m not great with them, but if you need me to…I’d help you out in a pinch.
So, in other words…to any stranger who doesn’t read this blog…don’t ask me to watch your kids. I don’t want to. Offering me money doesn’t change it, either. My time is more valuable to me than anything you could afford to pay. Babysitting, to me, is a pure act of love. No amount of money is worth it to me. Probably.**