The C Word: Children

My parents always made sure we ate dinner together since we were little. It was a time when everyone at the table had a chance to share what had happened that day. It was probably mundane and dull for them, but those experiences added up to a certain kind of closeness. In a family with four children with 6 years between the oldest and youngest (poor Mum), a variety of personalities, and different activities (again, poor Mum who drove us around!)… it was actually quite nice, looking back. Now, two of my siblings are married, with the third wedding scheduled for this summer.

This wedding and naturally, conjecture as to who would be the first to produce a grandchild has been on my mind of late. I mean, really, with uni on and my dad here, it’s not like I have much to talk about. (Discussion of autonomy in my life with my parents alive is a wholly different post.) So, grandchildren. I posited the first child would come from L&C, whose wedding will be this summer. One sibling is frightened of episiotomies and tearing, and the other has career constraints. I have accepted the opinion that there is no good time to get married and/or have babies.

Something of note was the topic progression at dinner. Mind you, just me and Dad. So, it goes: siblings -> wedding -> married siblings -> grandchildren -> my status as unmarried -> grandchildren (again) -> grandparents -> desired number of grandchildren -> realistic number of grandchildren -> age -> mutagens that affect eggs -> age to have children -> relatives without children -> adoption -> surrogacy -> Bertold Weisner: a scientist who replaced sperm samples with his own and fathered approximately 600 children.

Right. That’s not awkward.

Yes it is.

~

P knows I want children. I love kids. I will readily admit I am clucky. I have some babysitting experience with a range of ages, from barely out of diapers to about year 6. I’d like to think I’ve seen not just the pleasant afternoon visit side of them, but the snotty, wailing, peeing-themselves side too. I know that while I don’t quite have rose-coloured glasses on, there’s still more I have yet to see and experience.

But there aren’t any prerequisites to having babies, aside from introducing an egg to sperm. I mean, just look at all the teenage girls who pop them out easy as anything! Case in point, one girl in my friend R’s graduating year who said,

“Oh, I’m not going to uni, I’m going to have a baby and go on the dole.”

Lovely. I would like to say I do support socialised medicine, I just don’t support entitlement and taking advantage of the system.

Despite my cynicism and frustration, I want kids. I’ve said it to P before. P said, “Why do you want kids? They’re just a prop for you, an accessory.” Paring away the prickles of the question, what are my reasons for having children? I didn’t and don’t actually have an answer.

  • It’s not to give my parents grandchildren (though free babysitting would be nice.)
  • It’s not so that I won’t have to go into a nursing home when I’m grey and wrinkly (though that’s not a guarantee anymore.)
  • It’s not for social acceptance.

What about the reasons do I have? They are small and fragile. Some people would readily interject, “That’s stupid. You’re being selfish. You have unresolved issues.”

But so what? Why can’t my answer be: “because I want to”?  Who ever said you needed approval from a selection panel made up of all and sundry to procreate? This isn’t defending a PhD thesis.

I don’t have original rationale for why I want babies. P doesn’t even want children. It could be a deal-breaker for us. I know P likes children. I mean, hello, if P didn’t, P wouldn’t have a job! But working with children and having children are completely different. This will have to be a discussion, probably spread over multiple occasions. Just having the discussion isn’t enough. There must be logical and pragmatic conclusions.

I wonder if there’s a handbook or something out there. Probably.

Bedtime, ahoy!

Pre-Wedding Madness

Seriously. The two of them wind each other up. He said, she said.

Dad has disowned her, according to the 29 year old. He threw the antenna down on the floor, and hit her first.

She is a big bully, he says. She doesn’t respect her parents.

For fuck’s sake. The two of you need to grow up and move on. But no, you two are big drama queens. It makes high school me look like a sedate wall-flower.

 

Background Basics

29 got engaged a whole year before 27.

27 got engaged in May and says she wants to get married the weekend before 29 (August 19th) because

  • her fiance’s brother X is away on vacation in Chicago
  • her fiance’s sister K will be flying out to teach English in Korea or somewhere
  • It’s a good time because Uncle R and Aunt L are in town from Hong Kong, and I will be too

I asked 27 what the rush is, there’s no reply. Whatever.

Apparently 29 flew off handle when she heard what 27 wanted. To be fair, 29 didn’t need the distraction before her licensing exams. But I could tell she was furious in the email she sent.

I was not happy to be in the situation of having to choose sides. If I agreed to go to 27’s wedding, then I would be condoning it. But am I really meant to not go to her wedding, despite the fact that I don’t know her fiance after 10 years?  Mum said, “We can’t even dislike him because we don’t know him.”

I emailed them both and said I wasn’t happy with the situation I’d been placed in. But I told 27 I’d go to her wedding.

I was stressed out, Mum and Dad were stressed out. I presume 25 was too. I told Mum and Dad to lay down the law, as parents, and tell them they were to attend each others weddings, take a couple photos, then fuck off to wherever the hell they wanted. I expected they’d done it.

 

Friday, 29 returned in surprisingly good spirits and was talking to me again. Dad came later and it was all going well. Then Saturday night, it came to light that 29 hadn’t had 27’s wedding date confirmed. 29 didn’t really expect that Dad would be able to convince 27 to have hers after 29’s wedding, but blew up nonetheless over being uninformed. She’s furious still.

Then I came back from work on Monday and apparently 29 and Dad had come to physical blows over the TV.

Jeez they’re childish.

I just want to drive over to P’s and be quiet.