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Inspiration comes in the most unexpected moments. In my case, that unexpected moment was listening to Hamilton, the Broadway musical,  on a normal working day. I have seen my son’s tweets about how watching the musical is “#GOALS” (Kids these days!) and since we have a family account for Apple Music, whatever he adds to his library also shows up on mine. I figured I better check what he listens to anyway, and played the first song.

I was mindblown when the first song, aptly titled Alexander Hamilton, played. Not sung in your usual (and expected) Broadway musical, the lead was rapping. And boy, was it good. Scratch that. It was great. Even my daughter, who is just a few weeks under 10, was drawn to it. The story itself is historical and revolutionary; even the musical is historical and revolutionary. It was the only Broadway musical who soared to the top of the American music RAP charts, and the cast is the first in diversity – from its leads, a Puerto Rican immigrant in the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Asian Philippa Soo.

But I digress.

Inspiration strikes

I have a lot of lines from most songs highlighted and memorised by heart but the last song struck me the most. When Hamilton dies (Yes, he dies. Sorry for the spoiler), he got to say this:

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control:
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

I call myself a storyteller.
I tell stories.
I capture memories into words that turn into stories.
This is what my passion is about.
But who tells my story?

But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?

This stuck with me. Dealing with my own mortality when my father died, I have become conscious of what type of legacy I will leave behind, and what I want to be remembered for. My days are spent in rewind and forward, never just playing. An occasional pause.

I try to make sense of your thousands of pages of writings
You really do write like you’re running out of
Time

I hit 35 this year. A mid-life if I will ever be blessed to reach 70. And I try to account the pages I have written. How I try to view it from the future childrens’ ages’ perspective, and if they will ever make sense of what I have written.

And when my time is up, have I done enough?
Will they tell your story?

And then I realize, all that I have written about for the past decade was all about them – the people in my life, the ones closest to me.

My stories aren’t on those pages.

I was missing from the stories I have written.

It might be too early to call myself an empty-nester but that’s how I feel most of the time. My children are past the age where every little thing they do is quotable, and adorable. I am now dealing with teenage angst, boredom, these growing little humans who suddenly know how to talk back at me.

Gone are the days when scrapbooking life’s “everyday moments” were easy. Whereas before I wrote stories from my perspective – how they enjoyed watching Lion King, and reading trivia books, and saying those unforgettable one-liners – these days, their stories are their own. My son is 15. He is at the age where he will remember most of his choices, the life events that will shape him and mold him into the man he will be. My daughter is 10. She writes her own stories through journals and books I encourage her to fill in. She even chooses her own pictures for her own scrapbook.

It’s time for me to step back, and let them figure out which stories they want to keep, and which stories they want to tell. This has affected the way I scrapbook, or document our family life. I include those that I am privy to, but in no way do I intrude or even include things that I am kept out of the loop of. This might limit my family documentation to the mundane, and the usual but they are important.

I am actually all caught up with Project Life this year. I am done with last year’s as well. It seems our stories get fewer and fewer as our lives get more colorful and diverse. Instead of me just capturing stories into photos and words, there’s my husband who does his own in Singapore, my son who shares what I include through his social media accounts and my daughter who works closely with me on what I create.

This brings this back to ME.

But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?

 

It’s time to shift the focus back to myself, as I try to tell my story.

And I wish, if ever you read this again, that you have listened to that song, and may the effect of it be as huge as it was on me that it compels you to #tellyourstory.

Aggie Aviso

Aggie Aviso describes herself as her family’s storyteller and memory keeper. A mom to two kids ages 14 and 8, she is certainly past the age of sleepless nights and adorable pigtails. However, motherhood stays exciting, more meaningful and yes, more challenging. She takes it all in stride, knowing fully well that moments pass by in a blink of an eye. As Gretchen Rubin famously said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” She has discovered how wonderful it is to have those fleeting moments in time documented in their family books and has made it her personal mission and passion to be able to tell their stories for her future grandkids. You can read more about her here.. Subscribe to blog updates and the occasional letter here.