Recently, I had a conversation with a woman that I met at the train station while waiting for my bus. At first, I thought it would merely be small talk, a conversation that wouldn’t have a lasting impression on me. Luckily for me, it was the exact opposite.
It began with a simple, “would you like to sit here?” to which I kindly declined and began having a conversation with my friend. Soon after, the woman started asking us questions about our grade, what we plan to do, what university we want to go to, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with the ability to pursue small talk, so it was more of a conversation that she was having with my friend, and I would occasionally add in my opinion and answers.
She began talking about her daughter who recently started her first year of university outside of the city. I could really tell that she was having a difficult time processing the idea that her daughter was so far way from her. “My daughter usually calls me around this time and we talk about things. She says she misses her friends. She always tells me, Mama, make me tea when I come home.” Her voice was full of a mixture of joy and heartache when she said this. She had a smile on her face, yet I could tell that something inside her felt empty.
At one point she began talking about how her daughter went into engineering because she was intelligent and committed. It was obvious that she was delighted with her daughter’s achievements and satisfied with her career choice. What really stood out to me was when she told us that her and her husband were planning to move out of the city in order to be there to support their daughter in her academics. “You know, I asked her, ‘can you do it here? Why do you have to go so far away?’ but she had her mind set on that school. It’s a good chool, but it hurts not having her here with me. This is the first time she had been away from me like this. I miss her a lot.”
She took out a few pictures from her purse and showed us a few of her daughter’s graduation photos. The smile on her face was huge as she told us about her daughter. “I curled her hair for this photo. I put some makeup on her face too. That was the first time she ever wore makeup.” The genuine happiness in her tone made me feel so content and I couldn’t help but smile at how proud she was of her daughter. Shortly after, the bus came and our conversation came to an end.
I guess the reason why this impacted me so much is because I had a first hand glance at what it’s like for parents when their children go off to pursue their dreams. I mean, in grade 12 we’re so focused around ourselves. What’s gonna happen when I go to university? How are my friends and I going to hang out? How am I going to be able to cope with university? What do I really want to do? We tend to forget that this significant point in our lives has an enormous affect on the people around us as well- especially our parents. We tend to forget about the way the decisions we make will change the lives of our parents. Often, we forget to express gratitude to them for everything they have done to help us get where we are today. They deserve the utmost appreciation for this.
So, to the woman who I met at the train station, thank you for opening my eyes and my mind to the way my decisions this year will affect my parents. Thank you for putting your trust into me by giving me the opportunity to listen to what was on your mind. You have impacted my life in such a positive matter, and I’m extremely grateful.