The children of waiting

I read a few days ago, in the newspaper Granma, that the Cuban population is decreasing and that there were 4,300 fewer inhabitants in 2006 compared to the previous year. The news does not surprise me because I had already noted that twenty students per class in primary schools was due more to the demographic reality than to the implementation of a new teaching method.

However, among the male and female friends of my generation there is a real boom in pregnancies and births. These are the children who were postponed for reasons related to living space, emigration or the economic situation, but that their parents, already in their thirties, feel compelled to have now.

My friends imagined the arrival of their babies differently. They dreamed of solving their housing problems before bringing children into their lives. Some saw themselves as the parents of children who would ride on toboggans and speak two languages; while others imagined living in their own country with salaries that would allow them to afford disposable diapers, baby bottles, and gifts from the Three Kings.

Life usually makes a mockery of our expectations, so here are my women friends, on the verge of giving birth or already rocking their children, while the fathers are suffocating trying to divide the little space where they live in the home of the grandparents, making calculations about what they can’t afford on their meager wages, and still dreaming that there will be space on the toboggan, now that there is one more to take.

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