When I’m not listening to the same mix cd that’s been in the car for a year, which I do, which is undoubtedly the source of much frustration for anyone who has to ride in a car with me, I am listening to NPR. Or Coast to Coast AM, no lie. Because I have a soft spot in my heart for crazies and the entertainment of their theories. A few days ago, George and I were on our way to the store when we heard a story on NPR about the global market. The gist of it (because my googling skills are failing and the NPR website isn’t yielding anything pertinent) was that children born now will almost assuredly live and work abroad at some point in their lives if they are successful adults.
Of course, the definition of successful is subjective. Many people (myself included) would judge a life of homesteading, tending land and babies, as a successful one. This, however, is not what they meant and not a luxury everyone — or even most people — can afford, kind of ironically. Living simply is often an expensive course to chart. It takes space to grow and raise your own food. Money to buy that space. Money to cultivate your land, get yourself some animals, house them. If you really wanted to know, I could give you the going rate for any kind of livestock you’ve got your eye on. And what they eat. And how much. And how cute they are. Because I’ve been begging for sheep, goats, ponies, a cow — you name it — for years. But this is not the point of my story (please buy me a pygmy goat for the love of god, anyone).
The report talked about the global community, how it effects the global marketplace and what that means for the future. Trends we can expect. I would’ve found it dreadfully boring if I didn’t happen to have a baby, about whom they were actually (indirectly) talking. He will, if successful, live and work abroad at some point in his lifetime. My first thought: he can’t live across an ocean from me. No way. After that, I began thinking about what that potentiality meant for him and his little friends. Ordinarily, I think about the “global marketplace” with some disdain like they just mean jerks in business class and ill-fitting suits, but this particular piece referenced many occupations that would be borderless in the future: teaching, journalism, even service jobs. And that lead pretty seamlessly into what he would need to be well-equipped in another country. Any other country. And my first thought was his health. Vaccines.
Ughhhghladgnslkngnblfdknb you are so not doing this, are you? Oh, but I am. Because I’m a hippie, totally, sort of. But, still, part of me breathes in Barney’s and wants to do a fraulien Maria hilltop twirl, wishes on eyelashes for a Jaguar despite Consumer Reports’ horrible reviews, eats Velveeta nachos once a year… and vaccinates my child. Against horrible diseases that kill people daily in other parts of the world. Parts of the world where he may, someday, live and work if he is a “successful” adult. Of course, he could get these vaccines later, should he decide to do as NPR suggests he will. But, you know what? I have a friend who lives in Indonesia. And one in Venezuela. And Morocco. I think George would like those people, and they would like him. Should I restrict my travel to places the CDC deems “low risk”? Should I rely on my own assumed immunity and the assumed immunity of those around me? Or should I abide by the adage about those who assume?
Mine is a somewhat unpopular perspective among the people I know with babies and young children. Many friends have opted out of vaccinations completely and some are on an alternative schedule (which I can appreciate, Dr. Sears aficionado as I am). I’ve done plenty of research. I’ve been selective about the manufacturers and combinations and presence of preservatives. We’ve been lucky enough (if statistical unlikelihood = luck) to not have any side effects from shots other than an extra long nap. If that weren’t the case, I may be singing a different tune. But probably not. I’ve had the vaccine debate with lots of people and while travel has entered the discussion, it’s been considered a luxury — a hope for which I’d like to be prepared. Now I have one more talking point. One that doesn’t amount to your child could, basically, kill my child, before he’s old enough to be properly immunized against whatever’s going around the playground (ahem — whooping cough). So, yes. I am a hippie parent and I vaccinate. You know, just in case George doesn’t grow up to be a pygmy goatherd.