So this morning while Craig was getting dressed, he handed me his laptop and had me read this article on why "Chinese" mothers are superior
(the author explains the loose term of "Chinese" within the article body, hence my quotation marks). It reminded me of my drills with my own mother when I had to stay up until 3am to nail down a speech, or when I'd sit there with her trying to win a class contest by finding every permutation of an anagram. I always won those, thanks to her. I also spent a few class days in the nurse's office catching a nap after the assignment was complete, but no matter.
As much as I hated her in the moment for the drilling, and the demanding nature, there was a certain level of quality expected of me, and I met it whether I liked it or not. Sometimes I wonder if it didn't add to the anxiety I feel on a daily basis now; I certainly feel worthless and like garbage every day that I go through life feeling as though I'm not living up to my potential thanks to my health issues or whatever mental blocks hold me back when my energy and mobility aren't in my way. But I also know that there was a certain refinement of thought, behavior, and being that I wouldn't have had without being pushed to do my best. Hell, we both knew it wasn't even close to my best, but it was good enough for A level work.
Reading the article reminded me of what I ought to be doing with Ana. While I'll never be entirely unwilling to let her make her own choices, in our plan for the school year, I explained that there were certain areas of study she had to complete, whether or not she liked them, and the rest were open-ended; I gave her a broad subject (like Science), and let her pick the form it would take (Chemistry). But between holidays, chronic bouts of illness, and other unforeseen obstacles (like a week of fighting her just to get her room completely clean), I'm seeing just how much I'm willing to be hated, despised, and loathed for getting her to do the right thing. After all, she only just earned back her shoes Saturday (it's a good thing we didn't go out earlier in the week).
An hour ago, I had Ana clean off the piano bench, put away the Yule ornaments and decorations that were hanging around the piano, and get out the books I bought her for the holidays. We flipped through them, and then I told her she needed to get through the original book I'd given her two years ago so I could stop hating everything she played and she could move on to the good stuff (a "Classics" book that's a step above the primer she's using now).
After Craig got home, Ana ran upstairs to spend some time alone, and I sat at the piano. I refreshed my memory on "Heart and Soul," played a round of "Chopsticks," and then did the first few measures of "Ode to Joy," with a number of mistakes before I nailed it down again. Craig made some comment, and then he realized it was me to playing, not Ana.
"You should sing along," he said.
I went over to sit next to him. "I hummed it earlier, and Puss came to me crying. She walked all over my shoulders and head butted me from behind."
C: That means she liked it.
Me: Uh-huh. It's not that hard. At least not the first bit. It's mostly in the middle octave, starts on E. When Ana got her harp, it took me five minutes to figure out how to play "Ode to Joy" on it. There you go, Ode to Joy! You're welcome!
Me: That part's easy. [Hummed it while "playing" it on the table.] But then you add in the bass clef, and then all those other instrumental parts, and then it's--waaah! Beethoven is fucking metal!
C: [snicker] You should sing with it, too.
Me: I did earlier, or I hummed it.
C: You sang it in German?
Me: I hummed it in German.
[WARNING: My memory may not provide you with an accurate picture of this scene. It's certainly not verbatim, and my memory may also have made me into a funnier being than I am. I'm fairly certain Craig didn't laugh all that much. Never the less, the last two lines are dead on, as well as the comment about Beethoven being metal.]