Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You and Kids?? Really?

I am sick and tired of people telling me that they can't imagine me having a kid. Close family and vague acquaintances alike seem to agree on this one thing. My point is, you may think so but do you have to say it? Do I say things like "I can't imagine anyone wanting to sleep with you?" Aloud?

Sure, I have never shown much inclination towards being gooey about kids, or even straying too close to their baby-smelling nappies but that doesn’t mean that I can’t raise one. The weird part is, I get along fairly well with kids. I come up with outlandish games to play, I tell stories about Magic Frying Pans and I respect them as real human beings who probably have more going on in their heads than I have had in a while. I treat kids as people I can learn things of value from and that surely beats having kids because "Oooo! they're cho chweet!"

But let’s be honest - it’s hugely expensive to have kids. Even if you don’t take the cost of diapers into account, the cost to your physical and mental well-being is probably in the multi-figures. But that’s not the only thing. When it comes to kids, you have to come face-to-face with the possibility that you may NOT know it all, that you may be wrong about some of your fundamental beliefs, and that there’s an information sponge in your immediate environment who will absorb everything you say and do without any filters. And all of that may lead to the creation of a chauvinistic serial killer with no other skills apart from drawing crayon stick figures on walls.

That said, if there was a system of giving licenses to people who should be allowed to have kids, I would think I'd qualify. That’s because my kids - adopted and otherwise - will grow up to be independent thinking, self-sufficient individuals with a robust sense of the ridiculous. From an early age, they’ll understand that food comprises of things found in the refrigerator, that most things they see on television is a lie and without words like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, nothing gets done including the laundry.

But they'll also know how to take the temperature of the room, how to laugh easily and they'll discover that the answer to the question "why?" isn't always "because I said so” and that they could see variations like “Go, look it up” or even “why not?” They may have a terrible sense of fashion and will probably develop a taste for coffee early in their life and quite likely have a room that looks like a pig sty, but they'll also be able to appreciate the whimsy of Pollock as well as the social commentary of Banksy, be able to understand what Irony means and not be ashamed of the pleasure their bodies give them.

I won't be the "cool" parent because I have no intention of winning them over to "my side". But I'll be an awesome parent because apart from giving them continuous lessons in what Respect and Integrity mean, I'll be more interested in what they're learning than if they washed their hands. They will learn to think about what they want, why they want it and ask for it fearlessly. They will appreciate that the rejection of their demand isn't a rejection of their self.

There will be boundaries - what time they get home, whom they go out with, if there's any kind of alcohol consumption, etc - but it'll be to watch them struggle against their chains to fire up their latent spark, the spark that will allow them to burn through any obstacles they face later in life.

And among the books, music and laughter there will be hugging and kisses and lots of affection. Because that kid will be mine and no matter what it does, it'll be hard not to love watching it grow up, make mistakes and struggle to find a way to laugh about them.

It’s true that I don’t particularly want to be a parent. I’m also smart enough to know that it’s a two-person job. And those are just some of the reasons why I'd vote for me being a good one for it. Everyone else can go screw themselves.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The One Who Got Away

Yes, we all have one of those... And regardless of how we may rationalize it, somewhere there is always that little pang of I-want-to-kick-myself whenever we think of them. When friends talked about them, I always thought it was about feeling regret that the relationship didn't work out. I now know how wrong I was.

It all started when Vinter said, ‘What?? I can’t believe you didn’t get the one you set your sights on – it never happens!” And the truth is, without meaning to sound too arrogant about it, I’ve always got my man. Whether he was the brooding and intense bad biker boy or the wise-cracking, family-loving, player of heartstrings on a guitar or the super-cute and inspiring SuperBoss – if I’ve wanted them (for whatever reason), they have gotten pulled into my gravitational field.

I’m grateful. But the havoc that was caused – usually by me – while trying to walk away from all those people was enough to make me swear off wanting someone. Don’t get me wrong, I have always and still do want ‘someone cute” or ‘someone who loves me’, but I’ve stopped looking at someONE and saying, ‘I want THAT”. The fallout is too unpretty.

It’s also the reason why, whenever I’ve been asked the question ‘Who’s the one who got away?” – my answer has always been – Nobody. Until now.

VJ walked into my life a couple of years ago. Honestly speaking, when he did walk in, I was too entrenched in my habit of not wanting someone specific to really see the possibilities of him. By the time I began to notice how much I liked him specifically, we’d already planted each other into cute little pigeon-holes. I hadn’t been available, and I soon learned, neither was he. And finally, three years later (Wow, has it been that long already?), I realized that he would never really be available to me.

So now I have a One Who Got Away. Along with that, I have a melancholy sense of regret. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe we would have sunk like the Titanic, but the regret lies not in not making a potentially wrong choice (again) or having tanked spectacularly, but having had that choice made for me.

I’m not much for an unending longing so, at a three-day music festival where musicians from around the country played songs about love and longing, I found him amidst thousands of people, hugged him tight and said goodbye to that chapter of my life.

The bittersweet ending? While I was hanging out with a friend of mine whom I’ve known and adored (as one can only adore a friend) for ages, I heard him tell his friend, when he thought I wasn’t listening, “She’s the one who got away.”

And yeah, I felt better.