Are we settled yet?
My mother’s visiting us right now. She’s an excellent cook, so we thought of calling some friends over for lunch last weekend. The said friends have two children. Our daughter had an excellent afternoon with our friends’ little ones. For three hours she forgot about us and just played with the kids. We had an excellent afternoon too. We drank wine, talked, and had a peaceful lunch. It was pure bliss!
After the friends (and their children) left, I was reminiscing about the nice time we had and how it was so good to have an adult conversation without being interrupted every three-and-a-half minutes by our daughter. And pat came the comment from my mom, “Have a second baby. It’s a good time to settle down. They will play together and keep each other company.” Wait a minute! SETTLE DOWN?? Isn’t that what she told us when we announced that we were pregnant with our first baby? I remember it clearly, “Very good, beta! It was about time you guys settled down.”
That wasn’t even the first time. I remember when my husband and I had taken mid-career breaks to pursue higher education in different countries. My parents were visiting me in London and my husband had come over from Germany (where he was pursuing his PhD) to meet them. They sat us down one day and my mom said, “Enough of this staying apart from each other. You both should now settle down.” To be clear, we had been married for seven years at the time and were in our early thirties. In fact, “settle down” is what they said when they decided it was time my partner (now husband) and I had had enough of “living together” with each other and it was time we got married.
When I finished high school and joined a bachelor’s programme in Computer Engineering, my dad was quite happy. That was the path that would help me “settle down”. To their utmost joy, I was recruited through campus placements in a software engineering job. And to their utter dismay, I gave up the corporate career after being in the rat race for a few years. “Why wouldn’t you settle down?” is what I was asked when I gave up that cushy job and declared that I wanted to start a non-profit organisation.
Meanwhile, I took our daughter for a trial run at a playschool today. She seemed to enjoy herself there. While it looks like she will settle in there quickly, I only hope that we have not started our unsettling parental quest of settling her down.