99 – I’m very lucky.

I called my mom today to tell her my marks (they’re okay, could be better, probably not going to get into med school with grades like these). She doesn’t really comment on them because she’s not the type of parent to get super strict about grades. She’ll mention it when I don’t do well, but in a “I want my kid to do well in school” kind of way, not a “if my kid doesn’t do well, they’ll be punished” kind of way. She used to give me money in high school for getting 7/8 A’s (7 whenever I had P.E.). She gave my brother money whenever he made honour roll or got an A in university. We were bribed to get good grades in a way. But I’m not the type of person to work for grades because of money. I’m not a money person.

She doesn’t bribe me anymore, mostly because I left home (I’m sure if I was at UBC, she’d offer me the same deal she gave my brother which was $50 for every A). I’m a much heavier financial burden now that I’m in Toronto. I think the financially smart decision would’ve been to transfer back to UBC even if that meant taking an extra year to graduate. But if I’m going to be do graduate studies/med school (if I get in), I’d rather not waste an extra year of my life doing undergraduate studies. If it means student loans, then so be it.

I’m very lucky though.

Lucky that my brother is no longer financially dependent on my mom so that I can have the luxury of studying in another city.

Lucky that my mom worked so hard to raise me.

I was and probably still am very, very spoiled. I always got a new computer or laptop when something happened to my old ones (I think I got double the number of upgrades my brother received). I got to do whatever extracurricular activities I wanted to (although I regret piano sometimes for the way it ruined my relationship with my mom many times).

I am lucky that my mom endured so many long hours of work. That she made the effort to drive me to my various lessons despite being busy. That she bought me so many things despite not really having the money.

She was and is still very smart.

She wasn’t as lucky as I am.

She was a straight A student that didn’t have the money to go to college. She chose instead to work and take care of her family. She started cooking from a very young age, taking over parental responsibilities for her siblings. And I really respect and admire her for that.

I am very lucky.

When I was younger, I would often become envious of others when I heard about all the places they’ve visited and all the things that they’ve seen. Because we never had the money to go on trips like that. Didn’t really even have the money to travel locally (I’ve never even been to Banff or Calgary or even Edmonton, all of which I’ve always wanted to go). I don’t resent that fact any longer. Now that I’ve grown up to understand how much my mother sacrificed to raise me. Someday, I want to earn enough money to go travelling with her. To let her know how much I appreciate her.

I am reflecting on all this right now, because I’m worried about her.

There hasn’t been very much work for her lately.

Which means I am even more of a financial burden than I normally am.

I know we’ll be okay.

My dad is working these days (although I don’t like him, at least he’s providing for our family).

And my brother is doing his thing.

So we’ll probably be okay.

But I just really want to go home and stop wasting all of this money.

That means I have to study really hard and do really well.

I also want to experience as much as possible – to make this all worthwhile.

That’s a delicate balance.

I’ll do my best.

I love you, Mom.

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