30's, adulthood, baby-making, biological clock, borders, children, communism, education, elders, everybody, family, holy, intimate, kin, life, marriage, matriarchal, matrimony, millennial, motherhood, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, my truth, pariah, personal stuff, Romanian, school, world, young
I’m a 33 years old Romanian woman currently living in the great nation U.S.A. I was brought up in a strong matriarchal family with my grandma Maria as the head of the family. My family is now scattered all over the world. From that uncle that nobody talks about anymore, who escaped the country during the glorious communist times and established residence in Australia, to my aunt, uncle and cousins from Italy and now me…the youngest of all kids/grandchildren to move abroad.
When we were younger, before everybody I know had the “audacity” to desire a breath of foreign air across the borders, my family reunions, birthdays, weddings, funerals, etc. looked more like bits and pieces of My Big Fat Greek Wedding than your typical kin gatherings. And that was just fine. Most people in my family talk loudly, they interrupt each other, they “curse and spit” at each other for good luck. No hard feelings. Just another Romanian family doing what it does best: eat, drink, listen to obnoxious music nobody understands and planning futures for everybody in the family. *Cos that’s what we do.
Not sure if it mattered to the family [read ‘elders’] that most of us had already planned our futures, had a clear picture in our minds regarding our life choices….whatever we thought we had figured out was immediately canceled by the “council of the elders”. Everybody was aware of what everybody else was doing, there were no secrets. Every single detail of our lives was dissected and analyzed. We were educated in a spirit of fairness and justice for all. We were taught to be humble and love each other. We had to attend Sunday mass at our Orthodox church and be active in our community. We were raised entirely by our grandparents because our parents were working all the time [helping in the building of a strong powerful communist state]; so for many years we were our grandparents’ children. We learned EVERYTHING we needed to know in life from our grandmas: manners, respect, language, religion, punishment for our mistakes, good food…and all the love in the world. Then we went to school, some of us dropped out early and started working at an early age, some went to school for 20+ years. In a way or another everybody was working for a living. During the communist regime – “unemployment” was a fictional word, “Lazy people go to prison”, my grandma used to say. For some of us, the next thing after school, was starting a family. And I mean right-away. No breaks, no vacations, no pauses. School-work-family. The Romanian holy trinity.
Now, some of us were stubborn and decided that marriage is not for us. Children outside the holy matrimony was “forbidden”. And with the new economy and the “millennial syndrome” some of us said ‘pass’ to marriage and children altogether.
In my family, the idea of not wanting children is an absolute abomination. At 33 all I want is peace of mind, a good night’s sleep, a good wine and all the travel I can get with a low income.
I genuinely love kids. I had my first official babysitting job when I was only 8 years old. And I was good at it. I wanted way more things when I was in my 20’s. Becoming a mother when I was in my 20’s sounded way more realistic than it does now in my 30’s. Not sure why. Year after year I realize that might not happen for me and not sure how to feel about it.
Married for almost 5 years now (whoaaa, 5 already?) and no kids in sight. And I have a distinctive feeling that I became the pariah in my family. And these things don’t get “unpunished”. The head of the family is no longer with us but she left 2 executioners in her place and they will make sure our family keeps the tradition alive. So we will have to continue to get married, breed and just perpetuate the loud breeding Romanian eaters (as a reference to MBFGW that seemed so appropriate [smiley face]).
Motherhood might hit me at some point…when I will hear my biological clock ticking. Until then, I beg you, please do not start a world of trouble for yourself by bringing up the subject of baby-making. This is an intimate, personal, none-of-your-business territory. Nobody knows what battles one fights in order to remain sane [and together] in a world that pretends to know what’s good for everybody.