Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wannabe Grandparents

I was in the Hague a couple of weeks ago on an official trip and while there, I met up with a friend, A.R., whom I had not seen for several years. Since we last met, we've both gotten married, I-over two years ago, she-last December.
As we talked about mutual acquaintances and caught up on old gist, we somehow came to the issue of children and our parents. I would love to have kids eventually, but for now I am focusing on my career. A.R. on the other hand would prefer not to have children. She says she has enough nieces and nephews and it is unnecessary to bring another child into the world. She also says she feels incapable of loving a child like it should be loved. Fair enough. Although on my part I subscribe to the literal translation of the biblical injunction "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth....". Interesting though it is to analyze the different viewpoints of different people with respect to procreation, that is not the issue I want to explore in this post. This post is about our "grandparents wannabe" parents.

As A.R. and I continued to discuss about children and family, I asked her whether her parents had raised the topic yet. It turns out that not only has she received the proprietary lecture, her mother has taken to keeping track of her period and asking her monthly how she is feeling in order to determine whether they had “struck gold” that month. This monthly interview is driving her nuts, slowly.

My case on the other hand, is subtler. First of all, when I decided I wanted to get married, to someone who was not “suitable” from the viewpoint of my family (another day’s topic), my father was sure I was pregnant. Love ko o, love ni! Like my mother used to say, nowadays love wears contact lenses. The only way they could explain the desire of CK and I to marry as fast as we wanted to, was that I had to be pregnant. Since they could not get me to admit to being preggs before we got married, there were expectations of a “premature baby”. Several months after we got married, they realized that I had not “rushed" into marriage due to an unexpected pregnancy, the hints started coming.
A year after I got married, my cousin got married, and typical naija style nine months after the wedding, she had a baby girl. As I called excitedly to congratulate her on the new addition to the family, the first thing she said to me was “ in Jesus name, yours will be next”. Of course I said amen, not bothering to explain to her that we were trying to plan our family, that I am trying to settle down career wise. It would have been of no use, it would just have reiterated the idea that is fast becoming fixed on their minds that I have been brainwashed by living too long abroad.

Recently, I had the following conversation with my father.

Daddy: Is there anything you want to talk to me about?
Me: How do you mean that?
Daddy: What are you plans with respect to starting your own family?
Me: (thinking, "he has started again") we are taking our time and I am trying to settle down in my job
Daddy: Are you using anything?

Imagine my embarrassment- discussing contraceptives with my father! And it was more like an interrogation!

Daddy: I am just asking, so I can know how to pray – is it that you are having problems conceiving… you do know that you need to stop the pill several months before getting pregnant and take your vitamins to help your body recover…

See me see trouble o!
This is the same person who sent me an E-mail after our Nigeria trip that he “was so happy to see us, and is looking forward to being a Granddad any time we are ready, no pressure at all”. Those were his exact words. Tell me how this inquisition can be reconciled with those words.

Finally, the funny conversation of a dear friend of mine with his dad on a trip home:

His Father:
You are a good son to me and your wife is lovely. My only wish before I die is to see your child
My friend: Daddy, you are very lucky.
His Father: why do you say that?
My friend: Since we do not have any plans of starting a family in before five or six years time, that means you still have a long life ahead of you
His Father: aah!

I am sure his father promptly embarked on forty days prayer and fasting, because he recently told me that they are expecting their first child next year ;)

First they are obsessed with you getting married, then they want you to have children, only God know what comes after you eventually have children!!!!! I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of my friend's story, after the baby comes.
Does anyone have any similar funny experiences to share?

1 comment:

olawunmi said...

this one was On Point!

parents never quit, and they seem to forget that they have lived their own lives, so that the ones that we're living belong to us, not as extensions of their own, but to us as individuals in our own sovereign right. yes.

i have started getting those questions too, because i'm 29 and single, and having expressed no desire to marry anytime soon, my parents have resorted to openly praying for a wife for me. i laugh, and then remind them resolutely that this is my life, not theirs.

i promise you, the pressures never cease. after you drop baby number one, the pressures to have number two begin almost immediately, "afterall, you don't want your baby to be an only child, do you?"

i'll be back.

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