I started chatting with this woman at the splash pad today. I’d never seen her around before, but I did see her partner with their kids at the splash pad and the library last weekend. I recognized him because he’s got a tattoo sleeve — you don’t see tattoos too often, if at all, on the parents around here. In a predominantly white, middle-to-upper-middle-class, slightly suburban-esque neighbourhood, seeing atypical parents like that makes me smile. Anyhow, I liked the simplicity of her daughters’ bathing suits and I asked her where she got them (Zellers, by way of hand-me-downs, incidentally). Through our brief conversation, I learnt they live in an apartment (like us!), co-sleep (like us!) and used to live in Toronto (where we’d like to live, if it weren’t so prohibitively expensive), where her partner was a student.
Most other families in the neighbourhood own houses and often discuss house-related issues like mortgages and renovations. Usually, at least one parent works a full-time job too; I don’t think I’ve met any parents who are students. I find that despite being out of school for a while now, I can still best relate to students. I’m most comfortable when I’m on-campus (with or without the child). Of course, it helps that I can still blend into the student scene too. Full-time jobs, home ownership and certain other markers of a very [ahem] “adult” life are things I have no desire engage in at this point in my life, nor in the near future. Because of these two factors (among others), I find it more difficult to relate to the other parents in the neighbourhood (I hardly mention the differences in our lifestyles but for some reason, they always assume — correctly — that we don’t have a car. How do they do that?!). That, and I don’t relish talking about kids all the time. The other parents I talk with are mere acquaintances — the only reason we even began speaking in the first place was because we have kids. I don’t quite see myself as being friends with them, so I generally keep my distance to avoid too many awkward conversations.
Anyway, I got a little excited while talking to this woman, because her family seems to share some similarities with ours. Oh, we even talked a bit about kids and commercial culture: while I’m generally against kids and commercialism, and she said she was too initially (which immediately piqued my interest), but she also made an interesting point about how she enjoyed her childhood with commercial characters (I did too) and her daughter likes “pretty things,” so for her, it’s more about the object itself than the commercialism or backstory surrounding a character. I don’t share her point-of-view, but I do see where she’s coming from. We parted ways without saying goodbye, but I do hope I run into her again at some point.Advertisements