Several of my posts have been about the ways in which I want to pass Hinduism to my own children. Thinking about children is a new thing for me. There was a while where I thought I wouldn't have any because of the desires of the man I was with at the time. Suddenly that biological clock that people talk about has kicked in. There have been a few things that have happened to trigger it, but one in particular...
I have never been good at making friends. I lack the ability to small talk and I end up starting such serious conversations that only a few people become close. I am still friends with my two childhood friends and in college I added one more. Her name was Ilana and she was in two of my classes my freshman year. We got along fantastically right from the start. We had such similar thoughts on everything. She really understood me. She was talkative and passionate about life and she had plans. She wanted children more than anyone I have ever met. She talked to the campus Rabbi about issues of children long before she was married. She told me how she had longed to be a mother from the time she was a toddler. When her sister was born, she thought the baby was a gift to her.
Ilana had patience. As hard as it was, she waited to finish college, to marry her college sweetheart (the first guy she ever kissed), to get settled into her job as a biology teacher, and to buy a house (well, a condo, the economy being what it is). We continued to talk on the phone and visit with each other. When I told her that I wasn't sure I wanted kids, she said, "But who will look after you in your old age?" I said, "Your kids will!"
Ilana always gave me great advice and I depended on her to give me helpful feedback on every kind of issue I might have. There was nothing we didn't talk about.
This past summer Ilana was finally ready to start trying to get pregnant. She was so excited. I called her in late winter and she told me that she was three weeks pregnant, but not to tell anyone. She was waiting to share the news until she was sure the pregnancy would stick and past the point of frequent miscarriages.
A week later she was killed in a car crash.
One of the very intense emotions that came over me was a very strong desire to have children because she couldn't. It felt as though as she was dying she passed on to me that craving for a baby. I hated that she had been so careful and waited for life to be just right before getting pregnant. Even if she had to die, I wish that she had left behind a child of her own. I know it's crazy to wish there was a child without a mother, but I know Ilana's family, friends, and husband would take such good care of it.
These feelings have made it extremely difficult for me to wait to have children. However, I know that there are things that need to be in place first (though if you wait for the timing to be too perfect, then you never start). In order to give myself patience and help me to wait, I started putting together a Hope Chest of sorts.
I have a plastic box and I'm gathering baby items to put into it. I'm also collecting books and toys for children that I want mine to have. That includes several Hindi books, some picture books about Indian festivals, some DVDs about Krishna and Rama, and some things I've been knitting.
My favorite toys I found so far are linked to in my Chinmaya post. Also, I had a hard time finding Hindi nursery rhymes and songs on CD. Finally found this: Nursery Rhymes It is really high quality and many tracks. I'm listening to it now!
Another thing I found was a set of computer games for toddlers and young children to play games to learn Hindi. Those were at www.matrubhasha.com There are some problems with some of the games, but I'm still happy with them.
So, that's just so you understand where I am in life and what I'm thinking about, because those thoughts are influencing the blog. I promise to very soon do a post on women and Hinduism, as Basu requested!