Friday, April 15, 2011

Of Children...


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To leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child…

Emerson has probably nailed this well by this verse in in his poem which I have posted prior to this. It addresses the main concern about life: what do we live for? People would say the safe answer which is to please God and earn the right to enter a religious heaven.

If life is nothing more than the blink of an eye between two absolute eternities, then life is meaningless at best. The deepest fear of dying unremembered follows close to the heels of the unspoken fear of eternal oblivion after death.

And I think that this fear is the main reason we desire to have families. More than the security of a social network when we grow old and weaken; more than the cultural imperative to do so and more than the physical need for intimacy. We are all afraid of fading into nothingness. After all, besides our parents (who often go before us) and our siblings who will soon follow us to the great beyond, the memories of us will ultimately fade away.

Children, it seems, are the best solution. After all, there is no child who will forget his parent, whether that parent was a bad one or a good one. And chances are, even when our great, great grandkids forget our names (name your great, great grandfather nga, kung kaya mo without help… LOL), we are comforted by the fact that they carry a portion of our genetic make-up and thus we live on in them and their progenies. Singles won’t have this privilege (unless they have a lovechild). They vanish after their moment has gone by, their genes dying with them.

This absolute death, of never having someone to carry on one's self is tragic to many. For this reason, even an unpalatable matchup (which is often scorned by the mind) is grabbed for the main reason of having a progeny. A toxic relationship is much better preferred than nothing at all.

But going back to the subject of children, I often wonder how it would feel like to bear a soul into this world. To watch a mother’s womb expand and grow as the months go by; to touch a swollen belly at seven months and feel that first kick of a baby through the uterine wall; or to listen to a faint heartbeat or watch live as the ultrasound reveals the baby for the first time (live that is…LOL)

I don’t mind waking up at the middle of the night to get her mom's food craving or endure the cries of madness as the mom grapples with birthing pains in the delivery room; those first cries of a baby finally seeing the light of day should drown everything else. To hold such a fragile life and wonder in awe at the fact that one has managed to bring such a miracle into this world is a gift beyond amazing.

Granted that diaper changes and irregular bawling at the middle of the night when one has work the next morning can be a chore; the first words of ‘dada’ and that first toothless smile as she recognizes you for the first time more than makes up for all of them. And when the primary relationship sours and both parents start drifting away from each other even under the confines of one roof, the fact that the union has produced such a child who brightens up day to day moments offers the possibility of a better future no matter how remote (kidding..LOL)

That first tooth and the feverish tantrums that it entails; and then that magical moment when she gingerly stands alone on two very shaky legs and you scramble for your video capable phone (and find out its battery is discharged) are but a few in the endless number of moments shared. And then it would just be a matter of time when your partner starts to fuss over her clothing and you have to endure shopping for the pink frock with matching butterfly sashes with that miniature Barbie handbag to go with it. (hahahaha).

And then you finally have reason to empty your bank account for that Bratz doll which comes with that electronic dollhouse. It should all be worth it all, as she waits at home for your coming after a long days work with a ready hug and a smile.

Of course, it wouldn’t be too long down the road before she is at that age when you wait up near the door with a pounding heart as you wonder why she is not home yet at the usual hour while feigning ignorance when she does come home (which merits a raised eyebrow from your partner). And then that inevitable heart rending moment when a wide eyed, wild, sex-adled teenager of a friggin boy has the nerve to knock at the door with a bouquet of flowers (paid for by their extortion of their parents) to ask your daughter out for a date (did I mention the aforementioned future courter has spiked hair garbed in droopy pants, pampered by an overprotective parent somewhere and who probably never did an ounce of work during his short lifetime). We all dread that day.

And then she reaches that point where she finally gets married and you stifle your tears during the wedding and hope that her marriage would work better than yours. You remember the day she came screaming into this world and the first time she said ‘dada’.

Of course, for me, these are all wishful thoughts. These are words to express the things that might never happen. I can only embellish the facts with my way of fiction and hope that the possibility of having any of these experiences would be given to me during the course of my journey. Life is too short and whether in time, the eternity desired of having one’s progeny beget a multitude of people that will leave their impact on this world, remains to be seen.

My thoughts remain incoherent as I write this piece. Thoughts are jumbled as the words flow. There is only me and a word document. Maybe it is just one of the things such a sensitive topic brings out and the fact that the probability of having a real experience draws close to nil as the moments pass by and the months turn into years.

But it’s amazing don’t you think? Emerson’s verse, my rambling, you reading and the unpredictable future that starts with the next second of the clock.

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