New Orleans tonight. I’m so anxious. That I might miss a note. I can’t believe I wasted all that time worrying about what my parents wanted me to do. Go to Harvard. Become a lawyer. Or go to Penn. Be a doctor. Make lots of money to support them when they are older. Hell no. I am pursuing music. Might be asking yourself now, how did I get here? Well, let me tell you.
I had a golden childhood. I lived in a small house in the small town of Waterfalls, Virginia. My brothers were much older and would treat me with the utmost respect and kindness. My parents, too. Until I got into my teens. They hated me. They made me take any club, class, or elective that did stuff related to politics, medicine, or debate.
They knew how I was to live and die. They even told me. They said, “You’re going to have a normal, wonderful childhood. Then in your teens you’re going to prepare for adulthood.” Boom, that hit me hard. You can choose either a doctor or a lawyer. I chose neither. Then you go to Harvard Law, Yale, or Penn. Then graduate with a master’s degree and be the most successful at what I was to be. Then support my parents when they got older and retired.
My brothers. They did exactly that. My eldest brother, Jon, had the most wonderful childhood, as I heard in his indistinct conversations. Then he took debate all through high school and middle school. Then went to Harvard Law. And do not even get me started about where we got the money for that. Over time, he became the best lawyer known to man. He says he loves his job but I know he doesn’t.
My brother Eric did the same thing only with a different job. My brother was always scared of blood and needles. So my parents made him take anything in middle school that taught you anything about exactly that. Then he went to Penn. Got his medical degree as a MD and he also got his PhD. Now he is one of the most successful doctors in America. He also hates his job. Shocker.
My parents expected me to be their third and last success story. I said no indirectly. I graduated high school. My parents thought I got accepted into Harvard Law. I wrote a fake acceptance letter and used the college fund for plane tickets and a hotel. To Nashville. My parents still don’t know. Don’t say a word.
That got me here. Well, not quite yet. I had to pull a few strings with Nashville. That got me here. I step on stage to sing my new single, “Cherry Wine.” When I see my father in the audience, my heart drops.
I start to sweat. The people in the front row may want to back up a little. Two words. Splash. Zone. The music starts to play. I think, “You’re getting on a plane after this, so don’t even budge.” I sing my heart out. My father’s facial expression just stayed blah. He wanted me to go to Harvard and have me be like my brothers way more than my mom did. That’s why if it was my mom, I may have not worried that much. Or gotten the front row soaked in my sweat.
My song finished and I was suppose to talk. But then I would have to explain how I got here and such. “Go ahead and talk, you have nothing to sing, plus your Dad knows you obviously had a way of getting out of college. Whatcha got to lose?” I think.
“Hey Folks! I’m Grace as you may know. And that was my new single Cherry Wine. I have been asked by so many people how I got here. Well. My parents wanted me to live this fantasy life and have me be successful at one of the two of the most competitive jobs on the planet. Don’t try this at home if you have parents like this. I said no. Indirectly. I typed a fake acceptance letter to Harvard Law. Yeah. Then I took the college funds out of my bank account and used them to fly down here. I finally got to pursue music. And if my parents are listening, I am glad I did this. I’m not going to be your perfect little princess.”
I looked at my Dad’s face when I said that. Wowwee. I sang a couple other songs that I had liked and told everyone I was to sing. I finished. I was walking out to my car. I hear “Grace!” I turn around.
It was my father. I told myself keep walking. He caught up and turned me around.
“Grace.” He caught his breath.
I yelled, “What the heck are you doing here!”
My dad then glared at me.
“I didn’t know you did any of that stuff. But when I saw this flyer,” he held up a flyer that my marketing team made to promote my concert, “I lost it”
I stared for a minute.
“You had this idea of how I was to live my life when you found out mom was pregnant again. After 18 years. You did with my brothers too. They are miserable and I wasn’t going to live like them, now if you can excuse me I have a plane to catch,” I said proudly. I turn around and walk away.
“No, you’re coming home with me and we will discuss what you are now doing with your life cause this is not a way of one,” he said.
“No,” I shake my head, “I’m done with you controlling my life.” I then walk away to my car.
“Grace! Grace!” I hear faintly as I walked away.
I look at him as I get into the car and drive away. I have dry tears now. I get to my next stop. Nashville. I can’t leave my family like that. I text my Dad to meet me there. As well as my family.
The next 2 days, my family rolls in. I was performing the night my Dad got in.
Later that night I perform my show. I meet my family afterwards.
“Everyone, we know that over 36 years we have had quite a bit of problems. My brothers hate their jobs they are now stuck with, and me, I did this. I’m going to put something out there. Don’t make us do stuff we don’t want to do cause you may think it makes us happy but we are actually miserable. So There is nothing you can do now, but we can all celebrate a family moment. Here.” I say.
My family huddles in.
As the poet said
I don’t know whether I am doing
Or I am doing
Going left or going
Whether I want to walk this path
Or that path
If the view is breathtaking
Or taking my breath away
Whether it is
Right or wrong
Forwards or backwards
Many things to think about
Why doesn’t it come to mind?
Of course it does…right
Are you thinking
You or me
Or an ocean
To eat the food
or give to another
To give back
Or to claim for yourself
That’s what the world is
Look at it as it can be or
Never make a difference
to live in pain not see
That’s all up to you,