A Lesson of a Lifetime | Teen Ink

A Lesson of a Lifetime

April 27, 2021
By Anonymous

It all happened when I was probably about ten years old. I had a happy family and a cozy small house that was where I used to spend my childhood days alongside my two parents and three siblings. I treasure every moment of my childhood; I think those years back then were the backbone of who I am today. Every failure became my impulse to try another time and never give up standing on both feet and keep on walking. My parents were good with us, and always kept us in mind in everything they did, every step they took was for us, they worked hard to provide us with every single thing we needed to be successful. Education? They gave us the best. Health? Always present and with healthy beating hearts. Happiness? With three siblings we made each other happy.

I used to hate days when my parents weren’t near us, it seemed too cruel for four kids to be alone sometimes. My siblings, like any other siblings, fought, throwing each other stuff and letting out the anger we felt. We always took sides and fought even more, but in the end, we made amends with each other and had fun for the rest of the day. We somehow knew that if we always fought our parents would grow worried and had to bear with us. For kids our age, we had always known from our relatives that life was never easy and that we had to work hard to achieve things. Our parents were transparent in that sense, so we grew up knowing the harsh world and the hardships we would have to bear when growing up.

I’ve always admired my family and especially my parents for enduring even when times weren’t the best, but they did it for us. My dad came from a poor family from a small old village in the state of Veracruz in Mexico. He grew up in a house that had no proper floor nor walls. No one from that village had enough ambition to dare go further from the hot sun of the place. Everyone was destined to be in agriculture and go to a nearby school, even if it was not the best. It is a town so small that everyone knew each other and their families. My dad then decided to take a daring step further and go beyond what anyone from the village had thought. He decided at the age of fifteen years old, to step out of the village and go to Mexico City where he worked hard to enter one of the best universities in the whole country. My mom has a similar story, overall, my family passes on these fundamentals of life in which we already know what it takes to get where you want to be. 

I have this one memory that whenever I am about to make an important decision, I feel like living that exact moment over again. I was about seven years old, pretty small for a kid my age but with big eyes and a warm heart, a kid still learning from this even bigger world. That day, our parents had left early to go to work, leaving four kids on their own to be messy. The day began sunny with the fresh air of summer when we woke up until noon and ate breakfast even later. We were always left in charge of making our own breakfast so that day we had some fresh and steamy hotcakes made by our bigger sister. She always took care of all of us with the warmth of her heart and kind soul. We spent all day in the small kitchen that in those days seemed way bigger. 

We had this idea of wanting to make some tortillas with the vast imagination we had. Therefore, we took the flour and some water to mix them together. My hands were too small to reach even the countertop where the blender stood. I remember reaching out for a wooden stool, which by the way had one leg smaller than the rest, making it unstable, but at that time obviously, I didn’t care so I just stood on it handling the blender. I was trying to manage to pass one of my siblings the blender so they could pass it so it could be left beside the stove. The wooden stool became even more unstable with the new weight. It all became an unsuccessful balancing act and the blender fell from my fragile hands onto the hard floor shattering into pieces. Luckily, no one suffered any harm from that, but what I dreaded the most after realizing I broke the blender was my parent’s reaction. We all knew that blender shined because it was bought recently after so many years of using the same old yellowish one.

I grew so afraid, mostly of my dad because he liked that blender so much and it was expensive to acquire it. My guilt began to build up and tears began to stream down my flushed cheeks wondering what my punishment would be. All of my siblings told me I had to be the one who was going to break the news to our father. We knew he came home just when the sun began setting every day; that day I hated the sun for setting and giving me a warning call that my father was about to arrive and I had to deliver the news. I kept waiting impatiently by the door still crying with hot streams of tears. When the doorknob began moving, it indicated that my dad was managing to open the door. Once inside, he looked at me and saw me crying. His reaction quickly changed to a furrow and he knelt down to my eye level. 

“What is the matter? What happened?” my dad asked, growing impatiently for me to stop letting out desperate sobs. 

All I wanted was to be sincere with him. “Please don’t get mad at me,” I managed to reply, not daring to look at his worried eyes. 

“Just tell me what happened,” He said after grabbing me by the shoulders in an attempt of making me look at him. 

“I accidentally broke the blender. It slipped through my fingers,” I then began crying even more.

“But are you okay?” Those words made my crying stop. All day I kept waiting for a punishment that never came. Instead, my dad was worried for me, wondering if I was okay.

“Yes,” I managed to say quietly.

“Then that is all that matters. We can buy a new blender,” The calmness of my dad’s voice was so reassuring that all my worries disappeared.

My dad took my hand and I followed him to the kitchen where he began collecting the broken pieces which were left intact. My dad turned to look at me with the same soft and relaxed expression he had entered the house with.

“Your wellbeing always comes first for me. I am glad you had the courage to accept your attempts and your mistakes.” He seemed like he was about to cry.

“I want to be able to teach you everything I can about life and I’m sorry for not always being there for you all. I hope you can make the best decisions and accept the ones you failed to make right.” He then proceeded to hug me.

That day was when I realized that as scary as some things can be in life, and as much as I don’t want to face them sometimes, what matters the most is the experience that I will gain. The more I learn from my mistakes the more I learn in life. The results might be dreadful, but the new knowledge and the satisfaction of facing things straight forward are more rewarding than pretending it never happened. It also showed me that even when there were days in which I felt like my parents were never there for me, they still were good parents. I have learned from that day and continue to live by it.

The author's comments:

In this piece, I tried to portray all the emotions I remember from my childhood and the important lessons that have helped shape the person I am today.

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