Monday, November 12, 2012

When kids grow up

"If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up
never grow up! Not me!" -J.M. Barrie

Sunday before the previous one, I got a text message that said I need to be available by Saturday because one of our friends, let’s call her V, will make an important announcement. Instantly, the group went abuzz with talks on what could it be and with few exchanges, we concluded that it's either she’s pregnant, or she’s getting married, or she's pregnant and she's getting married, or she’s pregnant but she aborted the baby. During our chat, I said I’d rather hear her say she got pregnant but went for abortion because I didn't think V should be a mother at this age and at this point in our life.

We’ve been friends for eight years since college and while most people would say we’re old enough in our age of 25, I don’t think the level of thinking required for such age is something we all have right now. What do we know? We live with our parents. We talk about art, sex, drinking, drugs, boys, girls, and then sex again. How can any of us be a mother, or a father? Least of all having a family of our own. It’s unfathomable and everyone agreed.

Saturday night arrived and the planned bar hopping started in Metrowalk. We’re already impatient. V said she’ll be late because they just finished their taping. Around 11 in the evening, she finally arrived wearing a black loose dress. She’s pregnant.

Almost all of us in the group are working for different media networks. Writers, producers, production staff – that’s who we are. Meet-ups are rare and are hard to plan. We have conflicting schedules. We’re always on-call and everything is just too unpredictable. It was two months ago since the last time we met and we really had no clue as to what’s happening or what happened to her.

She kissed and hugged each and every one of us and asked, “so, what now?” We’re all smiling but I know all of us were confused and flooded with questions. So I led the way and said “you tell us.” At that point, she spilled everything out.

V is six months pregnant and until the last time we’ve met, she herself didn’t have a clue. She said at times she had morning sickness but she thought it’s only natural because of her demanding job. After going to the doctor who confirmed everything, she told her parents of her condition. Naturally, they were mad. But I guess what made it worse is that the baby’s father is married and have two kids. He’s an agent of the country’s law enforcement agency and acted as “source” for V. The “source-journalist” relationship turned into a romantic one but all these happened with V keeping his boyfriend of four to five years. We all knew about this except for the baby part. She said she already broke up with her “official boyfriend” and tried doing the same with Mr. Soon-to-be-daddy. He refused. He said they’re keeping the baby and their relationship as well.

“Are you afraid?” I asked her.

“No. Takot lang ako manganak kasi masakit. (I’m just afraid of giving birth because I know it’s painful.)

I got sad. Maybe because I’m afraid for her or I’m selfish enough to be afraid of losing her to motherhood. I guess she thought of this as our initial reaction so she said,” ano ba kayo wala namang magbabago. We’ll still party, travel all around and do crazy stuff.”

As the night went on, the mood slowly changed. “Grief” turned into excitement. After all, the baby will be the first for the group. Our conversation went from feeding bottles, cribs, baby shower to “who’s got the bigger dick, Mr. Agent or Mr. Former Le Boyfriend?” Of course she didn’t take even a drop of alcohol that night but she still danced with us.

By the end of the night, I delivered a melodramatic speech where I said she didn’t have to worry even a bit. That no matter what happens, we’re here for her and her baby and that we love her just as much. At 4:30 in the morning, we slept together in mattresses sprawled on the floor in the bedroom of one of our friend's house in Pasig. By morning before going home, we dropped by at Rustans and checked on the infant section.

I realized this is a mark of an end of an era for us. No matter how hard we try to be Peter Pans, we cannot deny that we’re getting older. Everyday, we earn a certain responsibility that needs maturity. We’re 25 and in a few months we’ll be 26 and then a few more years and we’ll hit the big three zero. My head is swelling just by thinking. It’s scary and I don’t know if I could handle the meaning of getting old. Today we’re partying and having sex, the next we could be fathers and mothers buying diapers and milk. In a near future our skins would get dry and crumpled our hair silver, our knees weak.

These are thoughts brought about by the idea of one of my closest friends having a baby. Maybe that was the reason for the initial sadness doubled by fear. This is the reality. This is where we are heading - the world of adulthood. Ready or not, it's coming on our way. 

It’s the irony of life and no one can evade it. In the end, we could only hope that the child within our hearts rise above, like the song says. But right now, we decided this calls for a celebration. They reminded me that night I was the one who promised them that we will be young forever. Right now I'm not sure if I can keep with that promise, but you know what? It's always worth the try. 

Come now baby. Your beautiful godfathers and godmothers are waiting anxiously for you.

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