RITUALS

Altynay Alikhan

05 / 05 / 21
"For the future of all kids, and all generations, I hope we can start working on a solution to climate change. We need to take care of this planet."
Altynay Alikhan

ALTYNAY

I was born and raised in Kazakhstan, and immigrated to the US when I was 13. I grew up in a musical family— with an opera singer, pianists, and musicians of many types of instruments. lt was these surroundings that made me a musician myself— I’m a pianist. I feel most connected to my true spirit when playing the piano.

My grandmother raised me. She has held the greatest sway upon my life’s influence. Her energy burst from within, a place of magic and wonder. Her heart, her home, and her family, were filled with love and warmth. Her approach to life and the way she personifies the rich hospitality of Kazakhstan is still embedded in me; I hope and strive to see myself as a reflection of her.

My husband and some of my friends have also shaped who I am. He was the first person I met in Los Angeles, the only person I knew the first few years before I had friends. I rode along in his life, picking up bits of myself as we traveled on our way. His involvement in the art world led to realization about myself and my relationship to and appreciation for avant-garde creativity.

We live in Los Angeles with our three beautiful children, which I suppose makes me a stay at home mother. Anything I do, I do with my kids— I'm there for them 24/7 until my youngest begins school. I've found comfort in my role and it's become easier for me over the years. I always find the experience beautiful. When you become a mother, you don't have to lose your identity. You can still have fun, be yourself, and have a life. Life is certainly more full with three kids. I’ve made many great friends, and often host dinner parties that roll all through the night. I believe it’s good for kids to see their parents have fun, to see that you are your own person— and that you aren't the only thing they live for. They always ask me, "When's our next dinner party?"

Being a mother has taught me to enjoy the smaller things in life. Now, I enjoy the moment and never take it for granted. Before I was a mom, I was always thinking about the future and what might happen. Being a mother has taught me to soak it up, smell the flowers— all of that cliché stuff. Now, I feel most beautiful when I’m simply breastfeeding my baby and laying peacefully with him on the bed. I feel the motherhood coming out of me.

"I hope my kids grow up to know kindness, respect, common sense, and manners... ultimately, I just want them to grow up to be the best they can be— and to be happy. I want them to be there for each other and always have each others’ backs. I want them to contribute good things to the world."

There is such a sad joy when you realize your children don't need you anymore. I nearly cried when I saw my daughter swinging herself on the playground without me there to push and support her. Slowly, they no longer need you in the same way. When you see these moments pass, there's a little goodbye to be said - always very emotional yet joyful. Kids teach you a lot. Watching them sleep, laugh, and seeing them become excited about the little things and finding beauty in so many things.

I hope my kids grow up to know kindness, respect, common sense, and manners. I want to teach them about my culture and heritage. I plan to pass down everything I know. But, ultimately, I just want them to grow up to be the best they can be— and to be happy. I hope all three of them grow up close. It would break my heart to ever see them part ways. I want them to be there for each other and always have each others’ backs. I want them to contribute good things to the world.

For the future of all kids, and all generations, I hope we can start working on a solution to climate change. We need to take care of this planet. It supersedes all other movements and causes. I don't even know how to explain it to my children. It's such a confusing thing to navigate, especially with them being so young.

For my life, I just hope to watch my kids and their kids grow. I hope to be there for them as long as I can be.

 

Altynay photographed by Drew Escriva.