A few days after the twins were born, I got a chance to meet them. I was told that premies are normal for twins. The pair were born about a month early… Jaden and Aiden.
The father, Ked and I are first cousins. I often tell people that we are more like siblings, almost twin-like in the way we were brought up. We both were relocated from the US at a toddler age to be raised by our grandparents in a small town of Bangmulnak, Pichit province, Thailand. Ked is 6 weeks older. We both together then got pushed off into all the same classrooms from kindergarten on to 6th grade. We would get drafted for many annual school dance performances. The 2 of us made a 3 person school ‘band’, consisted of 3 kids playing daily morning national anthem over a microphone on our sassy melodicas…. in front of a captive audience of a few hundred kids. Gone were the day of us being in the spotlight.
Ked is probably one of the main sources of how I became who I am for my reaction to him. He is what I am not; reserved, focused, punctual, peaceful, kind, and later disciplined, hard working, (positively) religious, (slightly) nationalistic, etc. For sure, growing up with him made me eat a LOT more fruits and vegetables because he was a picky eater since very young. I guess that could have initiated me to be more adventurous in general, setting out to take on the world on his behalf, or in compensation of. Curiously, however, his memory of our childhood is exactly the other side of the same coin.
Actually, his nostalgia recently became a point of my fascination in a case of objective comparison regarding cross cultural immigration. He was plugged out from where he was in Thailand at the age of 14, sent to Los Angeles for better chance of education/survival skills. That was a year before it was my turn to get a new similar path handed to me. He persevered through a series of difficult situation, and now is settled in his life he carved for himself, happily married with a stable job in his desired field. Comparing my feeling with him over what Thailand is or isn’t, I keep in mind always of the significant point of transition. The teenage ideals and impressions were kept to help us move forward as we struggled to redefine our identities. In my view, he turned out a little bit (Thai) conservative and nationalistic. His romanticism highlights the greatest part about being Thai, and his childhood that made him so. He holds high a lot of values our family believes in, the Buddhism guided social harmony, honesty, modesty, and humbleness.
I, on the other hand, somehow turned out non religious with heavy mistrust of any social and political systems on BOTH cultures. I sense that the gender difference is also a significant issue. I don’t know where I picked up the cynicism streak from, seeing no trace of that in Ked. All that is still unexplored entirely.
Speaking of the unshakable cynicism streak… Oh yes, babies … How can one be a cynic around babies? I’m not really, but I can’t help to wonder why are babies so off-limits in rational discussions. I mean, rationally, the world has way tooooooo many humans living on earth, lots of babies are still being born at a faster and faster rate, taking up spaces and resources. I truly believe that a lot of frictions, warfare, social, and international issues stem from the fact that there are TOO MANY humans in relation to the resources to support the species’ sustainability. Rationally…. people should look into population control, making it an individual responsibility to care for the bigger issue, the world, which has the full implication of its relation to the quality of life
The opposite from rational is the emotional context of being humans. There is really no need nor a perfect way to explain LOVE, the ultimate of all emotions. Love’s one of those things no one has pinned down yet. Same as consciousness or time. It gives everyone a chance to learn, grow, experiment, regret, and forgive, a coming together as a collective entity. It is the irrational drive that help us maneuver around different stages of our lives. And babies… babies are a physical manifestation of love, or that connectivity. In a way, a rational mind can’t really deny that.
As I visited the helpless little beings struggling to survive, but not without medical aide, I can’t help but notice how fragile they are. Years and years from now, these little beings will grow, and learn, and form thoughts and opinions on their own. All the transfer of Ked’s whole life’s worth of stories, feelings, impressions, world view will influence them. I personally have my own agenda, by sheer proximity, to infuse them with cultural awareness along with art appreciation, and maybe some Muay Thai if I can steal them from time to time. Yes, I’m excited to see what these blank slates will turn into.