We are Family
Having a kid opens up a whole new world of experience that would have been denied us otherwise.
Sniffing poopy diapers, listening to Barney 500 times a day, catching throw ups with bare hands, with a hat, with a saucepan (the kid spent the first three years of life heaving up his breakfast, lunch and dinner like no other child I ever knew). Quick thinking and resourcefulness are paramount in successful parenting.
To think that I might have been deprived of a second childhood if I didn’t have a kid. My son converted me into a Lego freak (much to his own dismay because we now fight over who gets which pieces of building blocks for our precious constructions).
Without a kid we would never have known the seeds of greatness that lie dormant in each one of us.
For me it’s the ability to slip into character at any moment’s notice when it comes to role playing games. It truly is a gift the way I am able to transform myself into a warthog, a monster, a hamster named Susu Betsy, a slave. Even Darth Vader. No problem. Notice though I always get to be the bad guy. The underdog. The dispensable character.
Having a kid changes us into fearless protectors overnight. My husband once slapped a monkey which was audacious enough to venture close, hiss and then tried to take a swipe at our son who had unwittingly eaten the monkey’s treat.
To put it mildly, having a kid opens up a new arena of hair-raising adventures guaranteed to spur personal growth, character development and white hairs in the Ba and the Ma.
Exactly a month ago, The Boy fell off a rocky ledge while we were out in the woods and cut his chin open. Maybe it was the shock, the confusion, the deafening wails (the Boy’s, the Ma’s and the Ba’s) and all that blood everywhere but I got to see a totally different dimension of The Husband that never got the chance to surface all these years.
It was like watching a scene unfold in slow motion. I was the first to arrive and called out to The Husband to hurry. They say that a crisis is our finest hour to shine but when the crisis involves our own child, we are almost animalistic in our response.
From the depths of the woods I heard a low rumbling and the bushes shook and trembled and suddenly out burst a creature that stampeded towards me wild-eyed, half crazed in grief, beating his chest and flailing his arms up to heaven. It was the father of my child. On his back was strung a collection of backpacks, a camera bag, bits and pieces of our day trip to the woods all rattling and clanking behind him.
I remember thinking then that this is what love must look like.
The Husband was shouting and crying and blubbering at the same time while I was, at least I thought serene in comparison. I was trying hard to practise Stillness and accessing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
“Calm down! Calm down! Don’t panic! Don’t panic!”, The Husband screamed.
“I am calm! I am calm! Who are you talking to?” I garbled in slow motion.
“How come you are doing nothing?” The Husband barked impatiently and unappreciatively at my Zen-like state of being. On hindsight, I might have been nearing a shutdown rather than enlightenment.
“We need to stop the bleeding. Where’s the towel? Do you have a piece of cloth with you? Tissue? How can you not have anything with you?”, his eyes bulged at me incredulously.
“What you think I’m a magician?”, I screeched a shrill soprano.
The Husband tried to heave The Boy but realised he was too weighed down with all those bags and straps about him. So he stripped himself of all the luggage while I piled them on me and both of us staggered home like a scene right out of Creatures of the Bog.
The Boy got three stitches to his chin. Stayed home for two weeks. Got a new box of Lego Star Wars, some more toys for being so brave. Got to eat ice-cream for breakfast. Got to watch his favourite dvds in the mornings. He bounced back. He’s bouncing even more than ever if that’s possible.
The Husband and I were a wreck for a week. We were so tired out by the whole heartstopping episode. We went through the woulda, coulda, shoulda. Beat ourselves up to a pulp. Somehow, the aftershocks were bigger for us. All that slowmotion took time to catch up because we had to put ourselves aside when there was someone else who depended on us to make things better.
And so it is that parents try to make it a safer, better place for their kids as it has always been. And so it is that after the dust has settled, these moments of crisis do bind the family tighter together. And so it is that having a kid teaches you to laugh at the absurdity and preciousness of it all – one day.
May the Force be with you.