Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 - 7:38 pm.
My friend's visit last weekend was really nice. We had fun, great meals and very interesting conversations.
His visit, however, made me wonder about my vision of him when I met him, some fifteen years ago. Then, I was in extreme awe of his travels and worldview. Now, while I remain holding great respect for him, I feel I have some experience of my own and I'm not so easily impressed. I know things he doesn't know. For instance, I was amazed at how naive he was regarding some expectations of his trip. He's seen some shit, but he still did not believe us about certain things in this country, and he failed to fully anticipate some of those, especially on September 11.
But everything was great. He's a good guy, and I much appreciate his long journey to come hang out. Then he was off to the capital and to an island. He's visited 80+ countries and now he's added another one to his list.
It's Independence Day time in many countries in Central and South America, including my motherland and my adoptive country. This has made me reflect on how far away I am now from my own country, in psychological terms. Look, I've never been one to feel proud over something I had no control over, such as being born on a certain territory. I just mean being in the loop.
I'm a bit lost at what's exactly going on in my country, besides some news and the general terms of a totalitarian state that harasses and disappears people. I'm not proud of being so disconnected either, but also, knowing what's going on makes me feel impotent, furious, and desperate. I don't have the time nor the energy to keep up, and I can only wish for my family and friends to be OK.
As for Independence Day here, it's just a lot of food. At least it's a bit more joyful and celebratory than my motherland's day, but it does involve animal cruelty passed off as sport, a reminder that you can never win with patriotism. At least Monday and Tuesday are holidays.
Yesterday Andrew and I were invited to a colleague of Andrew's birthday. We appreciated the invitation, though we did feel a bit left out because everyone else already knew each other and were close, and because we were the only ones without kids.
Our longing for a kid has gotten worse, so we could only look at the children at the party yesterday and feel our hearts explode with tenderness. Specially because the children also knew each other. The adults didn't need to keep an eye on them because they were all looking after one another. And these were like seven kids, with ages ranging from 5 to 12. They were a friendly gang, it was very heartwarming.
At some point, other guests there asked us if we had kids ourselves. We said no, but hopefully next year (we weren't sure how safe it was to disclose that we're adopting, though the birthday colleague knows). Then they advised us to not have kids and the group proceeded to share stories about how tired they were, and about differences between the first and the second child, and having no life, etc.
I can't fault parents, individually, for feeling this way, but I get annoyed at all the discourses around children. You must have children. You shouldn't have children. It's the best. It's the worst. I'm sure all that is true, and then you do what you can with what you have.
I am indeed scared of parenthood. Besides the usual challenges, we're getting a kid (or two!) who already had a pretty bad start in life under shitty circumstances, and we as parents will have to deal with the consequences. We don't know the kid, the circumstances, nor the consequences yet. I know it will be hard, but I'm scared that I can't comprehend how hard it will be until it's happening.
At the same time, I think I have a bit of an advantage over some of the parents at the party. I think so, as someone said they'd had their kid when they were "too young". Childrearing is hard and it sucks your energy, but I've already done most of the things I wanted. I got to be a PhD, live abroad, travel a bit, write a few books, publish some comics, have a same-gender relationship*, stand out a bit in academia... I had time to myself. I'll miss having it, but I'll have zero regrets.
*I wish the same for Andrew, but his main deterrent so far is, in his words, that "everyone here is a fascist". And, well, yeah. But you never know when someone decent might come along.
I don't say "zero regrets" with a sense of superiority, but with a sense of gratitude. I was able to choose. I was able to do what I wanted when I wanted. I got to choose to have kids alongside the best partner I could have ever asked for. This is a massive gift I got from life. I hope this comforts me at our most demanding hours as parents.
Also: Andrew and I have started panicking a bit because, almost three years ago when the adoption people asked us, we said we'd be willing to adopt two siblings. And we still are! We're only panicking because the apartment we're buying might get too loud and too small for two little kids. Andrew and I can deal with it, but our two cats have lived their whole 12 years* in blissful quietness.
*Except for the first three months of their life. Nico -the orange one- was born on the streets, and Marla -the black one- was abandoned as a newborn with her siblings in a vet clinic and was the last one to be adopted.
But after I think all this about raising kids in apartments I say: we'll be fine! We'll adjust. We'll make a hiding place for our cats in a room, and we'll roll our sleeves to give our kid(s) as much of a happy childhood as we can.