Posts tagged with "kids"

To Eat And To Forgive

It’s Friday. Pizza day. At Louise’s house, the par­ents don’t feel like cook­ing, and the kids get a treat.

The slices are out. The sal­ad’s in the serv­ing bowl. Everyone has an accom­mo­dat­ing fork, nap­kin, and slice. I see Eric move a hand to his face in the cor­ner of my eye, and assume that he’s start­ed eat­ing.

As the guest, this means I’m allowed to eat too. I take a bite out of my slice, but before I can even chew, I real­ize that Eric was just scratch­ing his beard. With a smile on his face, he says “Don’t for­get about grace, Jeff”.

It’s a dou­ble wham­my.

Not only am I a rude guest, mis­tak­en­ly eat­ing first, but I’m a hea­then too, dis­re­spect­ful of their reli­gion.

It remind­ed me of some­thing that hap­pened when I was a teenag­er. Matt was over. Pizza night. As the guest, Matt got the first slice. He wait­ed while the rest were being hand­ed out, but my dad, with­out any sense of for­mal­i­ty, took a bite as soon as he had one. Neither of my par­ents noticed, but there was a star­tled look on Matt’s face. He quick­ly closed his eyes, held a fist to his face (not a clenched one, but as if hold­ing the beads of a Rosary), and said a prayer in his head.

I always imag­ined that it went, “ThankyouGodforthispizzaandformygracioushosts”, because he was done so quick­ly.

It made me won­der, what was in that look? What do those who ask thanks of their meal think of those who don’t? What do Christians think of those who don’t say grace? What do Muslims think of those who don’t fast? Are we unap­pre­cia­tive? Do we take our food for grant­ed?

Eric’s tone is kind though, not con­de­scend­ing or judg­men­tal, as if to say, “We only ask you to do this for the sake of our kids”.

Louise asks Sarah if she’d like to say grace. She sings a song that bears a strik­ing — excuse the pun — resem­blance to the melody of the Westminster quar­ters (along with chore­og­ra­phy).

Hark to the chimes (arms held upwards and open)
Come bow your head (hands togeth­er in prayer)
We thank thee lord (arms upward again)
For this good bread (hands togeth­er again)

But as a sev­en-year-old, Sarah does­n’t know the right words. She says “heart” instead of “hark”. “You” instead of “thee”.

No one men­tions it though. Not every­one is per­fect. One can be for­giv­en.

Even me, I hope.

Today I Hit The Snooze

I also dressed down, and stole a drink from work. Two of my best friends final­ly met each oth­er. They got along famous­ly, bet­ter than any of my oth­er friends in the past. I sup­port­ed one on the biggest deci­sion of his life. The oth­er told me that I had always been her hope­ful out of the round of inter­views for my job, over a chick­en sand­wich and some onion rings. I learned the four Cs of dia­mond appraisal, and saw a car­bon spec through a loupe for the first time.

I met two cats; one rolled into my lap while play­ing Double Dash with the best kids in the world. A fam­i­ly inspired me, and I dared to dream of some day hav­ing my own.

Talking To Cats

I had the plea­sure of tak­ing care of Nala while Trolley and Wheaties were home for the long week­end. She greet­ed me with loud protes­ta­tions, angry that her care­tak­er had left her alone in the house for two days so far. Alas, it was only me who had arrived, a stranger she had­n’t got­ten com­fort­able with yet. She fol­lowed me around at first, and watched as I filled up her food and water dish­es. After a while she real­ized that I was the only one com­ing. “Where is my slave?”, she demand­ed, and ran off to sleep under the kitchen table.

I tried to talk to her, to let her know that her com­pa­ny would be back in two more days. I asked if she was alright, if she was bored or sleepy or ener­getic.

It felt…a lit­tle odd…to be so ver­bose with a cat. I con­sid­er myself to be a sane per­son. At the same time, I real­ize that cats can­not answer back. A strange lit­tle para­dox.

I find myself in the same sit­u­a­tion around chil­dren. When a kid asks me a ques­tion to which the answer is beyond his com­pre­hen­sion, I don’t know what to say. I become rather embar­rassed that I’ve been placed in such a sit­u­a­tion. Do I tell this child the truth, or do I give a sac­cha­rine answer? Do I attempt to shed some con­scious­ness on a child’s life, or do I let him/her remain in a bliss­ful child­hood igno­rance?

Any deci­sion can be thought of in a bad way. I nev­er know what to say, so I gen­er­al­ly don’t answer back.

I still talk to Dolores though.

For there can be no judge­ment there.


I think Dolly may be inter­est­ed in hav­ing anoth­er cat around the house. I’ve been play­ing some cat sounds, and no mat­ter where she is in the apart­ment, she’ll com­ing run­ning into my room. A sec­ond cat is some­thing I only start­ed to con­sid­er this term. Last term it felt as if I would­n’t be able to han­dle the chores, let alone dou­bling my annu­al vet­eri­nar­i­an bill. Sometimes she seems lone­ly though, like when she imme­di­ate­ly starts to cry when I walk in the door after a day of school, her protest­ing only being soothed after pick­ing her up, and being replaced by a low purr. I’ve always seen myself as a one cat per­son; I think I’d feel a lit­tle imbal­anced if I had more than one. If I do decide to get one, it will def­i­nite­ly be after I grad­u­ate, def­i­nite­ly after I find a sta­ble job, and pos­si­bly after I can pur­chase a con­do. It would be more for Dolly than for me though. I can’t imag­ine find­ing anoth­er cat that is as well-adapt­ed as she is, so the idea scares me a lit­tle.

One time I dis­cussed with Pita whether he would ever con­sid­er get­ting two dogs. He said that he could­n’t, not just because it would be much hard­er to han­dle, but because he would feel more favourable to one or the oth­er.

The idea of favour is one that I haven’t been able to under­stand. How can par­ents love all their kids with­out lik­ing one more than the oth­er, espe­cial­ly when one fol­lows the desires of the par­ents more close­ly. It might be some­thing I don’t under­stand, being an only child. If such a bal­ance is pos­si­ble, would­n’t polyg­a­mous rela­tion­ships work as well? I think part of the mis­un­der­stand­ing stems from my con­fu­sion of rela­tion­al love and parental love as well.

For love is the root of my imbal­ance.

The Question Of Kids

I just received (with­in 10 min­utes) a one page let­ter deny­ing my appli­ca­tion to become a Big Brother. It great­ly, great­ly sad­dens me. I wish I knew why they decid­ed this, but they aren’t at lib­er­ty to dis­cuss it. I actu­al­ly had to sign some­thing acknowl­edg­ing that if I was reject­ed, I would­n’t know why, if the orga­ni­za­tion chose not to tell me.

I’ll always won­der why I was not allowed this oppor­tu­ni­ty. I thought I’d be good at it, but I’m sure that this com­mit­tee of peo­ple know bet­ter than I. After all, I have lit­tle expe­ri­ence with younger peo­ple. I just wish some­one could under­stand how much this would have meant to me.

I won­der if it could be my matu­ri­ty. If it could be my time restraints. My rela­tion­ship with my par­ents. My being a good hater. Could it be that they feel my motives are out of self­ish­ness? Could it be that one of my ref­er­ences gave me a bad rep­u­ta­tion? Or sim­ply that I’m not the right kind of per­son for the job? I real­ly have no idea, since I believe that I gave an extreme­ly good impres­sion at the inter­view.

I always believed that my expe­ri­ence with par­ent­ing would help me become a good par­ent myself. Many peo­ple whom I’ve spo­ken to believe this of me as well. Yet, the idea of hav­ing chil­dren of my own still scares me. It’s the idea that I am in con­trol of some­one else’s life, when I believe that my own life will always be full of entropy. What hap­pens to my child if I ever got divorced? What hap­pens if I ever died? So many uncer­tain­ties make the whole idea very fright­en­ing.

I also don’t believe I have the capac­i­ty to love in this man­ner. It’s not a pater­nal emo­tion that I have been able to devel­op or learn. I have my rea­sons.

The sub­ject of kids has always been present in my rela­tion­ships, and it’s usu­al­ly been a source of con­flict.

About three years ago I came upon a site called WebMD. It’s a pret­ty good resource for health issues, and psy­chol­o­gy issues. One of their events was a chat ses­sion with a par­ent­ing expert, and I could­n’t help but try to ask a ques­tion that I had been ask­ing myself at the time. The tran­script can be found here (my name was jesterz_webmd).

At the time, I felt like her answer was quite uncon­ven­tion­al.

I had been brought up my whole life think­ing that I need­ed chil­dren of my own to be hap­py. I sud­den­ly real­ized that think­ing this way was not for every­one, and that not hav­ing kids could be as ful­fill­ing as rais­ing kin. It was then that I decid­ed that I most like­ly would­n’t have chil­dren of my own.

Then again, I was only 19 on the time.