Friday, 15 May 2015

My atomic family and other animals


Image result for family of rabbits

In the brave new (developing) world, we  experience the  post natal effects of delivering nuclear babies who are now on the verge of adulthood (also known as teenagers in the 21st century). The  progeny of the nuclear and non-nuclear families are beasts that are hard to tame. They are certainly not the shy wallflowers or awkward, gangly youths of yester year. No, these are confident, polished homo sapiens for whom age is just a number.

Currently, I share my “cage” with two cubs – aged 17 & 19. My eldest man-cub has reached the ripe old age of 26 so we are starting to have some adult conversations if not for the fact that he’s content with non-communication.   I recall the three bundles of joy that I carried home tenderly from the hospital. At that time, I was enamoured with their apple cheeked, dewy eyed stares as they surveyed their new world. At one time, during a severe bout of colic, I had the fanciful notion that my elder cub did not want to be in this amniotic-less dense world…….and sometimes I wonder about it still.

Nevertheless, I gave my best to motherhood and was depleted and deprived in the process. Of course, this is the maternal brief that women sign up for when they embark upon this sacrificial  journey. A mother gives and a child takes. A mother goes without so that children may go with……. all the trappings of a “happy childhood”. In today’s world, I’m reliably informed that the list goes beyond food, clothes and mere shelter. The in-your-face teen requires  fast food laced with oil, sugar and salt, clothes with designer labels and a home that’s modern - complete with a hot tub, private gym, roof garden, home cinema, dance studio,  sound proofed music room, a den to “chillax” in, garden with a barbeque,  swimming pool for regular pool parties and a host of Apple/Nintendo products.

Despite the enticing list above, the modern teenager is stressed and usually busy doing nothing.  It (and I make no distinction between male or female cubs) has decided that hormones are weapons of mass destruction and may be launched at regular intervals at their care givers – parents, teachers, siblings and whoever else is in the firing line. Whatever is zinging through their endocrine system makes them speak/cry in a high pitched tone (aka whining and whinging), dress as if they’ve just got out of bed (they have!) and generally act so nonchalant that a rocket is required to be placed up their derrieres to get them moving. Perhaps NASA can work on a space program that would send teens to the galaxy since they’ve had a ton of experience of being in space (lazing around in their beds/on the sofa)…….to the point of becoming a waste of space.

The cute, swaddled bundles have evolved into elongated avatars that lurch from room to room searching for food/xbox/nintendo like heat seeking missiles. They grunt unintelligible syllables that is “street talk” that desecrates the Queen’s English. Profanities are fashionable so vocal pollution is the new age vernacular.   “Whatever” is their mission statement and that’s the most civil word in their limited vocabulary. Teens also sprout bulbous pieces of plastic that they wear on their heads like a tribal headress. Headphones are big, small, tiny and essential. They have two purposes : one is for the humble pleasure of music listening, the other is to drown out the voices of their parents.

Their ears are attached to headphones and their eyes are fixed on a screen. The computer is king and you can hear banshee like screaming if the broadband signal drops out. Survival for a teen today doesn’t depend on food, water or loving parents. This new breed need “FiFA, Football Manager, Call of Duty, Grand Auto Theft, Instagram, Twitter, What’s App, Tumblr, Snapchat, Candy Crush,    ” – the virtual world is their whole world. Facebook is like visiting grandma’s home – its cosy filled with goodies (for the eye) that will tantalise the senses.

Vloggers are their messiahs. Teens (and others) “like” and “follow their “role models” (of which parents are no more). Parents, in the electronic age, are less important than “keeping up with the Kardashians!”

Teenagers are the new demi gods and goddesses;  a conglomerate with unlimited liability. A demi-god can force you to vacate your own home just so that he (and you) can get a bit of peace. A demi-god is the ultimate ruler of his world and has dominion over his bedroom (which you shall not enter though you own the house!) A demi-god has control of finances – his and his parents’. A demi-god has his own life…..far removed from what we know as a life. Being unwashed, unkempt, foul-mouthed, lazy, devouring every kind of junk food and using 10% of their grey matter is not my idea of acquiring a healthy spirit.

Family is an ever decreasing circle. At some point we’ll part ways and there’ll be silent spaces everywhere.  My teens have given me an idea that replacing a crowded nest with an empty one is an attractive prospect. They’ve forced me to re-evaluate and speculate……

Q: What would a life of my own look and feel like?

A: Pretty darn wonderful (at this point in time)!

Family will come and go but animals remain. In our case, it’s a little, white rabbit that will retain our eternal affection. What we can’t always share with each other, the deepest and finer feelings of love are showered on the bunny….and he knows the best and worst of us. Once the teens have morphed into proper adults,  finished university and are climbing the corporate ladder, Diety-dom will be a distant memory. A salaried position will make them snap out of their divinity double quick.

My family is dysfunctional, difficult, frustrating but growing.  Personal growth spurts are inevitably challenging in teens and the wider family. My own “growth” into super-woman has been no doubt testing to them  so pain – as a giver and receiver -  is the ageless familial exchange.  
I reproduce therefore I suffer and celebrate in equal measure.

Perhaps I’m too close to the mountain (of their talents) to appreciate the view. In the near future, the vista will change and when I stand back I’ll be able to understand the light / dark shades of character, wit and unique personalities. Until then….I’ll live  this upside down, tumultuous life, gather my frayed nerves and keep calm!




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