Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baby Love

One of the strange things about life as an expat is you don't get to experience all of the normal seasons in the cycle of life that you might if you were in your home country. For example, funerals and weddings.

Nat & baby Zeke, November 2011
People die all the time, of course, but in the expat community you generally don't have people who are quite old. If you live in a foreign country, its mostly because you are working there or going to school there. The countries we've lived in so far are not countries where one would go to retire and live out the rest of your years. And yes, people we know and love have passed away while we've been gone, but with the exception of my Uncle Louis' funeral where I traded in our airline miles and made a very fast solo whirlwind trip, we've not attended any funerals since living abroad. Again, making general statements, if you're an expat in one of the countries we've lived in and find you have a terminal disease, you tend to head back to your home country for treatment. And therefore there aren't funerals or memorial services held abroad for the most part.

Same thing with weddings. We've known several people who have decided to get hitched after meeting someone abroad, but without exception, they all fly back to one of their home countries to do the actual deed. We've been invited to Chinese weddings which have taken place locally, but that was more on the fringe-- we were invited more due to work obligation rather than because they were dear friends.

Having a baby on the other hand... we've known a dozen people who went ahead and had their babies
Nat & baby Leon, September 2012
abroad. However, while living in Macau, everyone we knew hopped the ferry over to Hong Kong to give birth in their superior maternity hospitals. A handful of expectant ladies that we've known have indeed gone back to their home countries a few months before giving birth. But I'd still say the top life event we've experienced while abroad would be the birth of a new baby.

I worry that this will skew things for the boys. My parents dragged me to so many funerals and weddings while growing up that I knew how to behave and also realized both were perfectly normal, one a celebration of a life well-lived, and the other a celebration of two lives joining into a new family. I have adult friends who have never been to a single funeral. They live in fear of the day they lose a parent and will suddenly be confronted with everything that goes along with it. I certainly don't want that for my children. They have been to a few, but all were over three years ago and their memory is hazy at best. As far as weddings go, the last one they attended was that of my cousin Matthew and they have no memory whatsoever. But babies? Oh goodness, they have seen a lot of babies in the last few years!

Nat & baby Saffron, May 2014
From the newborns of friends to newly adopted or simply fostered babies taken in by friends, they've experienced many moments of new life.

Nathan, at age 13, has spent a year declaring, "I will NEVER have kids!" But he's our baby whisperer, the boy who easily calms a crying baby with the palm of his hand placed gently on a tearful little one's belly, and a tender, "don't cry, little baby." This makes me giggle because when Nathan was presented with his own baby brother, he wanted nothing at all to do with the little bundle who only had eyes for his older sibling. Ben's very, very first word was brother ("brub-ber! Brub-BER!"), not even Mama or Dada was as exciting as the boy with the wild movements and loud voice. I remember Nathan frequently trying to vanquish his younger, annoying brother, and for the first year of Ben's life I never, ever used the toilet alone unless there was someone else to watch the children, for Nathan could not be trusted for even a moment. The one time I was selfish enough to think peeing in peace was a right and not a privilege, I exited the bathroom to find Nathan with a tool set, trying to take his brother apart. That was such an exhausting year!

Nat & baby brother Ben, July 2003
I found out recently that I still might not be able to trust these two alone for any length of time, but that's a post for another day. I'm still recovering from their recent shenanigans involving hairspray, a lighter, and a video camera in the early morning hours while I was getting my beauty rest... Ai ya. Boys.

1 comment:

:o) Rachel said...

I love those boys!!! (and the recent shenanigans that they posted on Facebook!!!! lol)