Time for a little nostalgic story..
I really wanted this barbie set. It was between my kindergarten grade 2-3. Barbie was one of the trendiest dolls and toys back then. They have thousands of costumes and high heels for each character. (well, not really “thousands”, but in a kid’s eyes, a couple already means a lot) And the dresses was super cute, shimmering, and gorgeous, as if they had their own fairy tales and stories behind each dress. I remember the one I wanted the most, was all shiny silver on top, but red sparklings at the bottom. I was one of those girls who looked super boyish, considering I was always wearing my cousin’s T-shirts and shorts, having short and fresh hair, and a boyish character, but in my mind, I could not resist the colour pink, princess stories, cute fantasies and imaging my prince. (I even wore wedding dress to school on my birthday every year rofl)
For some reason my mom bought me a barbie figure, and struck a deal with me, “Every time you write a story, you get one point. When you have 12 points, then you can have this box of barbie.” I still remember that barbie set came with 1 barbie, 2 costumes, 1 crown, and 2 pairs of high heels. This was major. Not only did my mom offer me this deal, she would buy it for me first, trusting that I would deliver later. So I did what any 5 yr old would do… I said yes, without hesitation or thinking of the work.
At the end of that Summer, I didn’t write enough stories.. coz I was thinking oh maybe she’d give me anyways. And so, I didn’t get my box of barbie, and my mom insisted she would only give me when I reached her goals for me. But later on, what happened? I don’t quite remember, did I forget about the set? Did my mom let go? My mom back then had short tempers, she would have punished me or at least lectured me for not fulfilling that. I’m not sure.
Not only did she set goals like writing stories, but something like remembering english vocabs, drinking enough water, doing houseworks, or even brushing my teeth. Now I asked my mom why would she set bunch of goals and prizes for me to handle, she said that she wanted me to learn a certain kind of skill, but also hoping that I would have fun during the process, to have something to keep me going.
My mom was a social girl, but not anymore after having me. She stayed at home more, kept to her family. She tried to go out and meet her friends, but always felt out of place, or uncomfortable, and as a reaction, she would avoid people more. And then along comes me, a daughter, an extension of her. And with me she encourages all the skills she thought were important to be a useful person. Be healthy, articulate yourself, have an imagination, be responsible… My mom was trying to create the friend she always wanted. The cool kid, the fun girl, a friend she knew she couldn’t lose, and always be there with her, so long as the friend didn’t reject her.
For the past few years, I’ve been growing up a lot more, and trying to act more like an adult. It took 15 years, but I feel like I’ve more than returned my end of the deal. (tho im still not drinking enough water a day) The friend she tried to create doesn’t have much time to talk to her or spend time with her. But I know she understands, and I’m also very proud and glad that she’s busy studying for her master’s degree in buddhism, hopefully a phd also in the coming ten years. I know from a distance she’s proud of me too, she checks on me when I sleep, tags me on funny cat videos on facebook, pours me water, talks to me about her studies and asks about me. She also checked my blog’s visitor number, and is so proud whenever I tell her about my commitments.
I hope my mom knows that I felt bad not getting the barbie set in that summer, but maybe that’s not even the point, holding up my end of the deal. It’s just about being a good friend, the one she always wanted. As children we’re always talking about trying to be better sons and daughters… but at this age, maybe we should just be better friends.