Hijos mean "children" in Spanish.
I think about what it means to have kids. I think about it especially since one of my dear friends has just given birth to a giraffe (kidding.. the baby is a bit on a long side.. thus the nick given). Also because 3 of my oldest friends are also currently pregnant with their 2nd child. Goodness! I am surrounded by these great women who have braved childbearing once and are determined to have a go at it again.
So what does it mean for me to have kids? Sure, people have this wonderful notion of having kids because they like children (but these kids become adults and leave you!). My grandparents used to say that they wanted kids so that the kids can take care of them when they are older. If one kid gives RM100 a month, then surely 10 kids will provide RM1000. Alas, that did not happen. In fact, they are living an almost hand to mouth existence in a large bungalow in Labis, a small town way far south. But they are my deceased mother's parents and I have hardly any contact with them except for the annual trip home during Chinese New Year.
I see all the parents beaming when they talk about their children. It is as though the children represent their achievement in life. The kids doing things that the parents were never able to. The kids accomplishing dreams that parents were only able to fantasise in the snatches of time they had when they were not too busy with trying to raise them and earning their keep in this world.
I also see parents 'give up' their lives so that their kids can have a better life. Denying themselves new clothes so that they can clothe their children. Feeding their young with salmon and cod when they themselves ate ikan kembung or selar. Buying a bungalow so that the kids can run around when growing up when they themselves have lived in a small apartment and never suffered for it. Rushing around in the night after working all day in a fulltime job to ferry the kids from one tuition to another so that the kids will 'get a better education'.
I see all this and feel so weary. Yet, there was one colleague at work- Angie- who told me that all the weariness of work and stress and disasters of life seem to melt away when your child opens his arms and calls you his term of endearment for you. Another saw her kid like a wonderful plaything only that the plaything is alive and will follow everything you say and do - a "minime". 2 more in their forties (they could not bear children) emphasised that the children whom they adopted were now like precious gems. One even mentioned that even if her husband left her, she will not care as long as she gets to have custody of the child. Yet another tells me that it is in the design of nature to have children.
I guess I will never truly understand what all this means until I have my own child. And perhaps the decision then to have children is not from the fact that I SHOULD or WANT to but because I CAN. And because I can learn and savour in my journey on earth before I leave it.. the myriads of feelings and the adventure that God has in plan for me.