Ten years ago, TEN, I saw a Star Wars onesie at Hot Topic with “Future Jedi Master” printed on the front. I bought it immediately. I knew SOMEDAY either I would have a use for it, or one of my friends would.
We are nerds. Of varying degrees and types, but everyone I spend any degree of time with is a nerd. So Star Wars is always a hit, and as it happened, I got to use the onesie for my own baby. It got me thinking though, watching him roll around in his Jedi shirt.
Maybe it’s just the hormones. Maybe it’s paranoia. These days, I swerve between absolute joy, and horror at the possibility of loss of any kind(with bouts of boredom and exhaustion thrown in for good measure).
So, as much as anyone might wish to banish the prequels from existence (and I don’t, I’d keep them if only for the light-sabre battles), I kept thinking about Yoda declaring 9 year old Anakin Skywalker too old for the training.
When DO children start training at the Jedi Temple? 8 and a half? 6? 3? Infancy? I suspect the (fictional) answer is around 4 or 5, much as you might see of young athletes being taken for training in some places. Or, you know, Battle School.
Battle School isn’t a bad parallel. You have this child, who has in all likelihood been remarkable since he or she was a baby. Not to say that people would love their gifted children more than typical children, but a precocious toddler probably has a little extra sparkle and charm.
And then your baby tests too high on the midichlorian scale and your life is just ripped apart. You get those fuzzy bright – too sweet years, and then you don’t see them until they’re vague and peaceful calm as Obi Wan. Does anyone refuse? You leave this beautiful bright four year old to meet his destiny and 20 years later, he’s a stranger who has seen more of the universe than you’re capable of imagining. Maybe all parenting is kind of like that.
But maybe it’s not like that at all. Maybe the four year old isn’t so much adorably brilliant as he is frustratingly advanced. Maybe he constantly pushes against your artificial boundaries, ready to cross them long before you are ready to let him. Maybe all parenting is kind of like that too. But this little child doesn’t just cause trouble in school when he’s bored, he levitates, and talks his teachers into letting him have extra recess. Every day. Maybe if hadn’t been found by the Jedi, he would have been lost on a path of drugs, crime and force lightning.
And maybe you don’t have to just hand him over to the priesthood, maybe that was just unique to Anakin’s circumstances, what with Mom being a slave. I mean, obviously it’s a boarding school, I doubt they have Jedi-letts who commute, but maybe they have parents weekends every couple months. Maybe the little ones put down their training sabres and pack up for a long holiday over Thanksgiving. Maybe they make paper planets with heart stickers and glitter for Mother’s Day.
Then there’s sure to be at least a few families who moved to Coruscant to be near their Jedi tots. In fact some probably even moved to Coruscant just in hopes that their child would be accepted. They probably used special belly-headphones to play special force channeling soundtracks for the fetus. When the baby turned 18 months, they enrolled him in a class that claims to raise midichlorian levels, satisfaction guaranteed.
Do the parents ever hang out watching light-sabre kata practice? Does Dad pick his Jedi up from a match with a younger but more talented boy and scold him for not triple flipping into the opening he saw two and a quarter minutes in, or what about a little force nudge when the kid blinked sweat out of his eyes a minute later? Does Mom observe her daughter meditating and tell her maybe she needs to work a little harder at it since she always seems to need to itch her nose after only a few hours?
Why do I assume the Jedi parents would be overbearing and… awful?
I guess it’s because I know (however it is you can know something about a fictional universe) that there is no room for parents in the world of the Jedi. Parents are distracting, they are attachment, they turn Anakins into Darth Vaders.
If it’s genetics (and Luke says it is) most parents of Jedi must have had some feel for the force as well. Probably they wouldn’t have turned into Toddlers & Tiaras type psychos, they would have been sensitive, aware of nuances, feeling the subtle needs of their baby. They would have been there with a hug when the training was too difficult, they would have felt the pain of struggle, of the alienation that must be necessary to finally attain a detached calm. And the hugs might keep the student from struggling through, from learning what needed to be learned.
Was a Jedi ever allowed to be a child? Did they have time for games and giggling and stupid stunts, or was it all concentration and breathing?
The Jedi. The Jedi’s father. The athlete and her parents. Theresa and John Paul and Ender Wiggin, Mr. and Mrs. Madrid. The parent of every real world soldier, alive and slain. They give so much, and we expect it all of them. Was it worth it? What they missed, what they lost?
Ender’s first Christmas was fantastic.
Survey from Linda of All & Sundry
Had a baby.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t seem to have written them down, so I’m guessing not. I think I was afraid to share them because I didn’t know if I could make them. Having a baby is a pretty decent excuse, so I don’t feel too terrible. This year, no excuses. I will find time.
Resolution 1. Find time to do something creative at least a few times a week.
Resolution 2. Submit a short story to magazines.
Resolution 3. Re-write chapter 1 of novel.
Resolution 4. Create dummy for picture book, and 2 finished pages. Submit picture book to publishers.
Resolution 5. Create one simple (even if entirely useless) iPad app.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one especially close, but several casual friends had babies, a couple more are due in January, and I’ve made friends with a couple women from my birthing class.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. We also had several friends suffer miscarriage.
5. What countries did you visit?
None, but hoping to get to Canada next year. Not exactly exotic, but hey, we can drive there.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A garden. Workspace. Better sleep.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 1st, Ender’s birthday.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finally finishing painting Ender’s bedroom (like TODAY)! Looking forward to having a room to ourselves for the first time in 7 months (7!). We also finally got the studio/office space pained, and should be able to get it at least partially set up in January.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I’m sure I’ve had plenty of small failures, but I don’t feel as downcast about this year as I did last year. I spent half the year pregnant and exhausted, and the other half nursing a new baby (and still exhausted) so I think it was a sort of waiting year and… a just being year if that makes any sense.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Does pregnancy count? Actually the pregnancy (mostly) wasn’t bad, but the actual birth was epic. A good reminder of how skilled biology is at getting us to ignore our rational fear of pain for the purpose of reproduction.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
This is a toss-up between most useful and coolest, so I’m going to go with the one that brings me the most joy: this awesome mobile. I love it almost as much as Ender does, and I think he may recognize the word “fishies” now.
12. Where did most of your money go?
13. What did you get really excited about?
Approaching due date, having a newborn, watching him grow.
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Mad World. I’ve heard it before, but it keeps coming up on my Pandora station and I sort of re-discovered it.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier!
– thinner or fatter? Probably still fatter? About 10 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.
– richer or poorer? I think about the same.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
There is more I could have done this year, but I’m not sure I would change anything about the time I spent if given the chance.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Staying up too late when I know I’m going to be up at 7am- latest.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
Visiting family and watching my nieces try to teach my son to crawl.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Doctor Who. Doctor Who? DOCTOR WHO!?
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Well I’m not sure I’d call it enjoyable, but Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, has been a big help. It was nice to finally get to read A Dance with Dragons but I found it kind of frustrating, knowing that the next one could be another five years. But hey, at least he didn’t ax my favorite character like I thought he did!
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Been totally addicted to Pandora this year.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I don’t know that I’ve actually seen a movie this year. My friend Amy tried to get me to go see Harry Potter with her, but at that point I was having to pee every half hour, so paying for a movie ticket just seemed wasteful.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30! I was in Eugene (Oregon), introducing Ender to my parents. It was a surprise.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I can’t think of anything.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Maternity. And nursing tops. Online shopping.
26. What kept you sane?
Help from family. Baby sitters. NETFLIX (about all you can do while cluster feeding)
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.