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Better yet, Priscilla enjoys every minute of it. As a single mum and magician, she has a tougher balancing act than most of us. But though her life has not always turned out as planned, she has learnt to make lemonade out of lemons and retain her joie de vivre through it all.

Rocky start

Priscilla was only 21 years old when she found out she was pregnant with her son, Isaac. Unfortunately, Isaac’s biological father was not ready to become a dad and so they parted ways.

In spite of this, Priscilla says she never had any doubts about whether to keep her baby, as she does not believe in abortion. Though her parents were sad and disappointed at first, she was thankful that they shared her beliefs and whole-heartedly supported her decision to have her baby.

In retrospect, she has no regrets. “I’m so glad of the choice I made. Isaac has been a real blessing to me. He has even helped bring my family and extended family closer, and I am forever grateful for that.”

It takes a village to raise a child

In fact, her family has been crucial in helping her balance her busy schedule as a magician, while still being a hands-on mother to Isaac, now 6 years old. She says gratefully, “I am able to be perform, teach and be a mother, because I have the love and support of a great family. Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be able to provide my son with all the time and love he needs.”

Beyond their support and love, her father, brother and uncle have also stepped in to become male role models to Isaac. Priscilla candidly shares, “I realise that all children need to have a father figure in their lives. I don’t try; neither do I know how to be a father to Isaac. But I do not want to deprive Isaac of a father figure because of the mistake I made.”

Isaac now acknowledges her brother as his father, and Priscilla has made the effort to explain the situation to him with sensitivity and openness. “Isaac and I have talked about it since he was 5. He is a very perceptive boy and was trying to get clarity about my relationship with my brother. My son understands that my brother and I are not married and that his natural father was not ready to become a father.”

Work and Play

Though Priscilla clearly loves what she does, there is no denying that her schedule as magician is intense; involving long hours, travel and weekend rehearsals. Yet, in spite of all this, she manages to fit motherhood into everything she does.
“Isaac has been traveling with me since he was 5 weeks old. He used to be with me all the time. During rehearsals and performances, my mom would help me look after him. After every show, while all the cast and crew went out, I quickly rushed back to my son. My life revolved around the theatre and my son. I spent a lot of time with him then.”

However, once Isaac entered kindergarten, he needed a more structured schedule and so his godparents – Priscilla’s aunt and uncle - were roped in to help care for him on a daily basis. Due to his schooling, she couldn’t take him on as many trips as before, so she worked around it, sacrificing things like going out with her cast and crew after performances. And yes, there are sacrifices.

“Now, I travel much less. Although I am very busy, I try to spend at least two evenings a week with him and rush home after rehearsals to put him to bed. I also make sure I keep my weekends free to do special activities with him,” says Priscilla.

Luckily for Isaac, his mum has a fun-loving and adventurous spirit, so together they go skiing, do gymnastics and have even started learning capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, together.

Spare the rod, but don’t spoil this child

Priscilla firmly points out that though he is showered with love, Isaac is definitely not spoilt. “I raise him to know that for every action there is a consequence. Likewise, if he does something wrong, he knows that he will be disciplined.”
But she makes an effort to discipline him with love. “Isaac knows that just because I discipline him doesn’t mean I don’t love him. We talk about what he did wrong and I help him to understand. After he is punished, we just go back to do whatever we were doing.”

She admits that sometimes family members disagree on certain areas of discipline. For instance, her brother doesn’t allow Isaac to bring toys to the table, though she doesn’t think it’s a big deal. She says that in this instance she lets her brother call the shots.

In the end, the most important thing is that “They all raise him out of love and that’s all that matters to me.”

Though Priscilla is open to marriage and more children in the future, she stresses that “it is important that whoever I am with, accepts Isaac.” In the meantime, she is happy with her life as it is, and is living out the one key value that she wishes to teach Isaac: “Be grateful for what you have.” LWB

Priscilla will be starring in her latest show, ‘Magical Wonders with Birds’ on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available through the Jurong Bird Park website www.birdpark.com.sg. Purchase your tickets by 31 May 2009 and enjoy an early bird 10% discount.

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