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Expectations – Paul’s Story

My father was a doctor and my mother, a nurse.  So, it was just expected that I would go into the medical field as well.  I never wanted to be a doctor, but I had to please my parents.  I kept my art to myself and used it as an outlet throughout my years in medical school.  The further along I got in my studies, however, the worse my grades got.  My father would harp on me to do better, work harder, and he forbid me to paint anything until I got through school.  But that did more harm than good.  And ultimately, I flunked out.  I was a disgrace to my parents, and my father never spoke to me again.  He died before seeing any of the work I did after I became a painter.  My mother and I stayed in touch, but I’ve only seen her a few times – when she went into the hospital for her gall bladder surgery, when she had her appendix removed, and when she was diagnosed with cancer and her bladder was removed.  She’s now in hospice.  I haven’t gone to see her yet, but I will.  Soon.

Truth be told, I’ve resented my parents for the last twenty years.  I had to give up the people I love to pursue a career I love.  Selfishly, I guess, I wanted to have them both. But my parents wouldn’t allow me that luxury, and I had to make a choice. I’m an artist now, and my work has been displayed in galleries in many cities, both here in the U.S. and abroad.  It hangs in prestigious homes, including the homes of several celebrities.  But neither of my parents have ever seen my work.  They’ve never met my wife or son.  And while that makes me sad, I am completely free to be who I was born to be.  Nothing holds me back now, and I continue to have success as a commercial artist.  I’m not famous like Andy Warhol – not yet anyway.  Maybe one day.  But if not, I’m still happy.  I have a beautiful family, and my son will grow up to be anything he wants to be.  And I made a promise to myself that I will never put any demands on him that he can’t live up to.  By the way, my wife, Susan, is a wonderful doctor – she took out my mother’s gallbladder twelve years ago.  That’s how we met.  I guess things worked out exactly the way they were supposed to.   And I’m okay with that. I see the most wonderful things coming up for me and my family in the future.

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