Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Impossible Choice

Our daughters' school started offering paid music lessons back in Ocotber. A guitar teacher comes in during school hours, and offers one-to-one tuition to children who sign up to the class.

Now, the school also offers piano tuition. Because the lessons come with a hefty fee, I've asked DD1 to choose between guitar and piano lessons.

She looked at me tearfully this morning: "I cannot choose. I want to play guitar because of Papy, and I want to play piano because of tante Regina".

I can imagine lots of children being faced with a similar dilemma, though it is more emotionally charged in our case. It reflects our perpetual state of being torn as a family between two countries, two cultures, two identities. It's like being asked whether you like your father or your mother best.

I am probably reading too much into it. But DD1's soul-searching on this matter is way too familiar, too unsettling. Leaving my country and marrying outside of my culture have made me cling to what ties me back to my upbringing. I am also acutely aware of the multicultural identity of my children.
As parents, we constantly question and adapt how we bring our children up. I feel parenting is even harder for us MultiKultis as we juggle our own respective cultures in a country which is alien to both of us.