A New Consumer in the Family Ration Book
Yanelys Nunez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — As is required when a new Cuban citizen is born, I went to register my nephew at Oficoda, the office which will regulate the rationed items that he will receive in the future.
As a consumer, he will receive at a low price, rice and a small amount of beans, oil, chicken and coffee, plus powdered milk until he’s 7, fruit compote -because he is a child-, white sugar, pasta and salt from time to time.
My sister has had a baby and I can’t stop thinking about his future. The kind woman at Oficoda drew up a certificate with all of the corresponding information and, finally, she wished good health and growth to the new member of the family unit. It’s worth noting that the bureaucratic procedure was fast and there wasn’t a need for a lot of paperwork.
I look at this premature baby’s small hands, a small boy who only weighs 6 pounds. I look at his small mouth when he tries to learn how to latch on and feed and I think that my decision to not have children is losing ground.
He is the first grandchild of a woman with worn-out knees, who spends a lot of time on the computer, and who is happy with this birth, bringing her a little bit of hope.
And this is because whenever there is a possible birth, when it’s wanted – or not – families gain new life. The great-grandparents were there sewing, figuring out the fetus’ sex so they can buy blue or pink socks, making sure you have what’s needed for the baby, imagining the first sleepless nights.
A lot of ideas are clashing in this post. I’m thinking about how good it is to be a part of this moment, about having this baby so close, who I feel is my own, but fear takes a hold of me at the same time.
Having a child in Cuba? On this planet?
What would move me to do that? What moves us?
I think about Milan Kundera and the theory that one of his characters develops about not having children.
I think about my conversations with a good friend of mine who, like me, has it crystal clear for quite some time now that they don’t want to have children, and we used to spend hours making a list of all the contradictions that this life choice implies.
I think about the selfish stand you take if you don’t cooperate in populating the earth. In cutting a family tree just like that.
I think about a child lost in a dinosaur park. Maybe because I’m watching a scene from one of the Jurassic Park films as I’m writing this.
I think about the Peak Oil and future energy crisis. About orphans. About my intermittent belief.
Registering my nephew as a new consumer keeps popping back into my mind. A nice word, consumer, worn by its use, but what is he a consumer of?
I think about whether I’m still immature, which some people will tell me I am when they read this post.
However, what I think about the most is the shame I have in not having a better country for Dieguito right now.
One thought on “A New Consumer in the Family Ration Book”
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Many future parents feel the same. Many actual parents feel the same. And believe me, There are many other countries that are worse to bring children up due to the cost of living, and attitudes towards children. Having a child is a very personal choice but there is a certain amount of optimism about the future implicit in that choice. Which can only be a good thing, no…?
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