Growing (the sweet-potato eating boy among) humans.
I think i’m posting this quite emotionally - to commemorate (physically, not metaphorically) birthing a little boy sixteen years ago. (And the other half to my Logo in The Social Think).
(On that odd winter’s day, when the snow first fell softly on the ground, quietly he came and as pink as his apgar scores could take him to a perfect 10. I didn’t really expect it, since he was clamouring to be birthed 2 weeks ago, and i suspect he was a tad late, when i took to the bed. (Also, you mustn’t trudge up and down stairs when you’re 36 weeks along). There is a good strategy to resting and rustling up the courage to tell people that “your water had broken”, and have them help you by taking you to your doctor and assigned hospital to execute the birth plan. And like jesus, mary and joseph, we took to the snow - cold, wrapped, and happily birthed, lavished in flowers-in-buggies and congratulatory notes, and most importantly, having siblings and family around for the occasion.)
It’s probably a really odd instance, his birth. In a posting to a new country - and having new environments, and an actual mobile family on the go - it’s been a while since we moved around - and when we did, out pops another one. This one smiles like his eldest sister, but talks eloquently like his immediate older one. They were all close mixes of each other - it was funny, as if all the hastily uttered tut-tuts of having the first one born of the “same father” was reconciled by having the third one born, and looking like her. Hmmm. Maybe it was the second one that was adopted? Small towns, small wags. But that was aeons ago, and whether we had them “on time”, it was on my time. And that was quite a feat, i must say.
The boy in the logo of the blog in the circle - is him when he was 9, and we were going to museums and he just grew out of his awkward preschool to in-between stages, and liked hanging out with mom. I dragged him everywhere - from badminton courts since he was 2 years old, to outdoor hawkers, malls without ramps for his buggy, riding in trains & buses, and later on as he grew - rode along with me to my startup offices, workspaces, incubation spaces, restaurant and cafés that i write in, and met everyone. He was everyone’s child. They knew his name and he said hello to them quite brightly.
He took the picture with my ericsson flip phone - and he took it quite cleverly. I tease him about being a part of the blog. But it’s true. It won’t be the same without his picture in it. He wanted to be home-schooled badly - he wasn’t a big fan of big classes and became a little notorious about growing up learning chinese-as-a-mother-tongue, when i put him into a school that allowed him a foreign french language from Year 5 onwards.
He now resides in the EU, past his in-between stages and well into teenage years - mostly, attending school while his father worked in the country, who was assigned to a different business group. And though he lives farther away, still lives with us, in the paintings and his pictures. We don’t divorce our children. They are simply raised as best as we can - which obviously need to be decided as a couple - not as a community or a country’s social programme. That would be inhuman, and against the proper laws of any human-occupied land.
I am glad he found a bit of his grandparents in him, and someday his well-rounded education will rise up to meet our affirmations to his potential as a member of our family, and become a better human - understanding how things work, as well as living well with others and seeing how the upper-classes outside of Asia, and in socialist systems work. The best education rise from mobility - having been fourth generation mobile himself, he will now be ranked among the ones who went before him and will have a first-hand appreciation of how things are in different places, and that - it’s okay to be different.
Diversity is an important building block in any family - and a child’s world. It doesn’t take loads of tuition money to understand the social systems that are built around the world - it just takes very open minds. And whether it was a product of having the privilege of educated parents myself, it was clearly my mission and duty to pass that on to my children now as well.
I think this is mainly identified in society, as Tradition.
And that’s the best kind of gift that goes around, and stays for generations. I think if we build our families around them, we have stronger bonds and families that survive the yanking that happens when a will is read, or when someone is not “the best person for the lion share”, or “the most favourite” or simply “the most responsible”. Having a solid foundation or footing, starts with proper diaries, kept promises, pushing them to become what they should, reminding them that who they are and what they do are something that will need a reconcile and the object of their education, culminating in being able to live in their best moments.
Having been best friend, best assigned person for the task, representing classes for intramurals, sports leagues, math club posturing, science clubs mini-teacher week, being avid captain of the pingpong, and quasi-chess / game-of-the-generals-game team, and the continuous awards and rolling accolades occurring in and out of school, that must have just stuck to me for lack of having any other person left to be assigned or drafted for the work, really - i think i may have inevitably passed on traits that are unmistakably something they would take to their own properly specific fields of battle, and frankly, I would settle for (having and being) “best mum” at this point. That would be better than ice, it would be serious icing.
(Happy birthday, Enrique.)