Skating, Freedom, and Success

I didn’t hit the ice rink for almost two weeks. I returned in the past three days to learn the loop jump. I am still struggling with the landing. I kept losing balance and had to put my free leg down. It’s quite a challenge, but I have confidence that I will be able to make it. I just need more time to practice. My only focus now is to nail the loop jump.

For rollerblading, I am practicing the power stop on both my left and right sides. I want to be able to stop at a faster speed. My T-stops aren’t so good either. I need to work on those as well. I also need to pump higher to get myself on top of the half pipe. Dropping in is the only skill that I am getting good at, and yet I haven’t had the confidence to drop in from a steep bowl. I just can’t afford the risk at this age.

Đạo and Đán had completely lost confidence in dropping in. After Đán fell off a high ramp and had a few scratches on his arms and legs, he doesn’t want to go near it again. Đạo is just too intimidated because he hadn’t skated much in a while. Both of them aren’t interested in rollerblading anymore. They rather sit in front of the screen than skate outside. I miss having them at the skateparks with me. I just go alone these days. I am disappointed, but I don’t want to force them to do what they don’t want to do.

Last week, I listened to an interview with Ocean Vương on NPR and he shared that his mother gave him no pressure. She was not the typical Asian tiger mom. She let him do whatever he wanted to do as long as he was happy. If all failed, he could always work at the salon with her. She gave him the ultimate freedom to explore, but he insisted that it was to serve her, not him.

Vương’s story gave me a pause and made me wonder if I have been too hard on my boys. Should I give them the same freedom Vương’s mom gave to him? If I do that, they would just fry their brains in front of the screens and not do much else. I don’t want them to serve me. I just want them to serve themselves. I don’t think Vương’s mom wanted her son to serve her either. He just took it that way.

Of course I wanted my sons to be happy and success is the key to their happiness. My role as a father is to guide them in the right direction. I don’t need to take the credits for raising them well. I don’t care if people would criticize me for my parenting failure. When I was younger, I cared too much about how people perceived me. I was sad and even depressed when I heard people talk shit about me. I worried words would get to my mother. As I was going through my mother’s belongings after she passed, I came across old letters my family members had written to my mother to advise her not to be down about my failures. I don’t know if she took it to heart or not because she never told me. My mother never said to my face, but there were rare moments she revealed that she was proud of me. That was all that mattered.