Yes, so, now my emotional life rests on the whims of a four year old, which honestly makes me feel a hell of a lot safer than when it rested on the whims of any number of nineteen and twenty year olds. But, this is just a symptom of my newfound adoration of young children. There’s this question on theSpark.com’s mating test that asks “Aren’t babies special?,” with the obvious intention of trying to suss out whether or not you are interested in having children any time soon. I always answered no, but this week i was thinking about it and i suddenly wanted to get online and change my answer to yes. I think it’s an age thing – i spent the entire week with three women aged roughly 75 who are slightly erratic and senile but also very funny, warm, and engaging. At the same time, tonight the only person who was missing from my family dinner was my paternal grandmother, who is in hospice care and not even 70.
My mother has a 26 year lead on me, so when i’m 40 she’ll be a venerable 66. She had the good fortune of having me while she was young and also forming a career for herself, so she now gets to watch me grow to be an adult as well as working at something she somewhat enjoys. All of my tiny cousins were born to aunts in their 40’s … when Audrey is my age her mother will be on the other side of 60 (and i’ll be 38… dear lord, let me find the fountain of youth before then…). How old will she be when Audrey has her own children?
I’m obviously biased by having such a young mother and father (it’s his 50th birthday today), but in my reflections on when i want to consider children in my own life a very certain and relatively small window of time is developing. I obviously would want to be out of college and securely in a job, but i’d want to have children while i was still young enough in body and heart to truly enjoy the experience and still have a life afterwards. That leaves a span of years that’s something like 26 – 35, which in today’s society (and recently in my family) is relatively young. But, what’s a boy to do? I might not be done living my own individual life by then, but do i really want to be in a retirement home when my kids graduate from college?
These are the thoughts that run through my head when i’m trapped in a condo in Florida at 4am with nothing to eat other than a bag of mini Twix bars and nothing to do except watch teevee or dream. These dreams are almost nightmares in a way, not because they’re frightening in and of themselves, but because they make me realize just how small the span of life really is. I somehow expect myself to mature into a lover and father in the next decade and a half… doesn’t that mean that i need to start dating eventually? Or, that i should start experiencing the things i want to do now rather than assuming i’ll get to them later?
Or maybe i should just start packing benadryl with me when i go on vacation so i’m not left with the time to ponder this sort of stuff. Either that or bring my guitar next time…