Two weeks ago, I got my first white-collar job. Not an internship. Not a part-time job you undertake in order to finance your studies or to get some extra pocket money for your summer projects. I am talking about a proper job with a proper salary. It is the type of job they tell you will be working once you finish all of your studies and graduate. When the person interviewing me by video call told me that they wanted to make me an offer, I had to keep all of my composure until the call was over. Nothing out of the ordinary when we are constantly told to behave in a professional manner during interviews. Once it was all over and I had disconnected my computer, the emotions came rushing in. They got a hold of all my being, making it impossible for me to move a muscle. I could not speak, nor even pinch myself. It all felt like some sort of dream. Time seemed to have stopped. Everything was in static and my eyes stared vaguely into nothingness.
After spending five minutes in this situation, I finally got to admit to myself that this was real. That it was not a dream. At that moment, tears started to fall from my eyes, while my mouth was forming a smile that would link my ears together. I felt ecstatic. I wanted to scream, to jump up and down as I had just won the lottery.
I made it.
Those three words felt like a song on repeat. Three words that literally meant the world to me. Those three words were the only words I could say. I even called my parents to tell them what had just happened, and all I could say was: “I made it”. They were not by my side that night, but the sounds I heard on my phone is all I needed to know that I succeeded. At that point, I remembered a song by French rappers Bigflo & Oli in which they gave the truest definition I ever heard in my life. I could finally relate to them. In their song Aujourd’hui, the duo defines success as the pride we perceive in the eyes of those we love.
“La réussite, c’est la fierté dans les yeux des gens que l’on aime.”
– Aujourd’hui by Bigflo & Oli
I could not see their faces when I gave them the big news, but the breaking in their voices made it all so clear what they thought about the announcement. Having built a strong relationship with both my parents, I am proud to say that I live for moments like this one. Moments when I can finally show them that all the time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears they spent for me were not in vain. All those sleepless nights they had to spend with me because I had a bad dream. All the lessons they gave me about hard work whenever I had let my grades slip in school. All the times they believed in me when no one else would – not even myself.
Our relationship has evolved with time. At first, we would talk and behave like any kid would with his mother and his father. As time flew, I started to develop my own opinions, to embark on my own adventures, to discover new things, to go on my own path. I started to become my own person, and that is when my parents made the brilliant adaptation: they became like my older siblings, my close friends. We started hanging out and joking together the same way I would with any of my friends. We have become comfortable with telling each other that we do not share each other’s opinions and points of view, which would lead to fruitful conversations and debates without end.
Some people know my parents and where they come from. They know what my parents had to endure just to stay alive, to be together, and finally to give my sisters and I everything they could not have when they had our age. For those who do not know them personally, it is a fact when I say that I have the best parents any man could ask for. They both equally taught to always work hard, to be a gentleman, to help others, to stand tall in the face of adversity, to contemplate art and music, to listen to nature in a way that you feel at one with the silence it provides. It is true that we fail to really appreciate our parents when we are teenagers and young adults. We think that we know everything and that we do not need anyone. To a certain extent, we might even feel ashamed to be seen with our parents, as it might make us less of a strong independent person. It is only when we start to live on our own that we finally connect the dots, and truly appreciate everything they did for us.
People always say to give credit where credit is due.
Well, everything I am today, I owe it to the two warriors who went through hell and high water.
For everything they did for me, the least I could do is make them proud and work even harder in order to offer the life they wish to have.
I hope to be at least half the man my father is and, one day maybe, I hope to marry a lady who will be at least half the woman my mother is.