En Familia

This week I have been pasando tiempo con mi hermano y su familia. My brother and his wife and my little niece of three years old are really accommodating and a pleasure to spend time with. I’ve never really lived close to family as an adult, so when I hang out with them it’s normally for long stretches of time and then we spend very few hours apart to fully take advantage of our time together. Last time I spent a month and a half with them when Aliyah was born. It was interesting to have everyone back in the house again minus my sister who just accompanied us for a week during this particular period. Three years ago it was my mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and Aliyah (a newborn). For a time it was fun to have everyone together, but on the other hand I started realizing that I liked being a lot more independent. I wanted to cook whatever I wanted, I wanted to have my own routine, I wanted to be able to curse like a sailor, and move about my life without having anyone say anything about what I was doing. And for some reason, en familia, these things for me have always been a bit compromised as an adult.

It’s weird writing about this too, because I know that my family reads my blog sometimes, but I think they understand where I am coming from.

Today on our way to Otavalo as I was sitting in the car I was thinking about how much having children consumes your life and makes it all about them. I’m not saying this is a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a realization that when you have an extension of yourself, it’s just that; an extension of yourself that you need to take care of, feed, water, love, and nourish just like any other part. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be ready for that extension of myself, but I guess it’s worth thinking about. If anything, kids are a patience builder like none I have known before. Mostly because at no point can you just deshacerte de ellos (or get rid of them, so to speak). They are always there, needing your care, and you have to sacrifice much of what your independent life consists of, unless you have the $$ for a nana o algo por el estilo.

As a child I remember we had a niñera named Adriana que nos acompañaba a cada parte y nos cuidaba a los tres (yo, mi hermano y mi hermana). Adriana cared for us three, my brother, sister, and me, and she would accompany us wherever we went, even on family vacations, and she would take care of us when we were at home, too. Her presence, among other niñeras we had growing up probably made my parents’ lives a lot easier. I remember her company more than anything else. I felt that her love, her cariño, and her warm embrace were what I needed at that point in my life. Of course, at the time I probably didn’t realize that all my basic needs were being taken care of by her and my parents, but sometimes you just notice that another being is there and is watching out for you.

En fin, parenthood is something that most people are thrown into since most pregnancies are unplanned (I could probably Google a stat right now, but I’ll let you do that). That being the case, people probably think kids are cute, which they definitely are, but all the time and energy that goes into making a child grow big, strong, and well-rounded is mind-boggling, so hat’s off to all those parents out there doing the parenting thing.

This week I met a little boy named Benji who came to Aliyah’s third birthday party. I could already tell I was going to like him when he came running up the sidewalk and down the front walk with a gift in hand, a huge grin on his face, and his energetic eyes peering through a pair of bright blue glasses that framed his face with a playful air. He ran in and gave his gift to Aliyah and immediately started talking about whatever was on his mind. His Tyrannosaurus Rex shirt matched the dinosaur-themed party to a tee and his energy tempo didn’t miss a beat the entire party. His mom, an introverted, small-framed woman, seemed no match for his stamina, but I admired the way she treated her son with a calm and collected air, if not with a bit of fatigue and surrender.

Thinking about both Aliyah and Benji, I realize why we fall prey to taking care of our young, they are cute and defenseless, and maybe it makes us feel like we have a purpose and of course, it’s in our evolutionary nature to procreate.

I’m not sure if I have anything profound to say about this particular relato but what I will say is that I am convinced that parenting is an art, and that everyone creates their own way of raising their own. And the product of this artwork makes is so that we have many different kinds of people roaming the Earth. Maybe one day I will make this kind of art, but for now I am content admiring, observing, and studying the work of others.


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