I often find myself thinking that we are too old to have Jay and that maybe we won’t live to see him grow old, or older.
But I have to remind myself this is a feeling, not thinking. And it is a feeling partly dictated by some social expectations people aren’t keeping much anyway in this day and age.
So when he is 18, I’ll be 61. Maybe not young and smart dad, but I’ll be there. Unless something happens. Which it could have too, if I had had him when I was 23.
Nobody knows their fate, right? When it’s their time.
But suppose I’m average.
Then I’ll die when I’m 81, IIRC, according to national statistics (and right after finishing The Blog – great!).
By then Jay will be 38 – if he is average, too, and nothing happens to him. (And the world doesn’t blow up, which is always a risk – isn’t it?)
That’s not that old in this day and age but hardly young either. And hopefully he has moved out of his room …
My mum lost my grandmother when my mum was 37, by the way. My grandmother was 68.
In the developing countries (as they are sometimes called) … or in the Medieval, if you want to argue the point … that would have been pretty long lived.
I mean 37 or 38 – not to loose your parent at that age.
So it’s all relative, anyway, and we don’t really know how much time is given to us, and I didn’t choose to have Jay when I was 43. I wanted him 7 years earlier, but God had other plans … !
So why the hell do I still have the thought that
We will somehow, in some ‘assured way’ not live to see Jay grow an undefinable ‘older’?
Why are expectations so often posing as certainties about what reality is going to be like?
Maybe because those expectations, the strongest, are socially indoctrinated and therefore run particularly deep.
I wouldn’t pretend to know, but I know this: I don’t care much for this deeprooted expectation about how my particular life as a father is going to go, and I’m going to do everything in my power to root it up.
Not because I expect to be 81 then, or even 101, but because the only true way to live is to reckon that things are going to go as ‘they normally do’ – not too bad, but probably not too good either.
Reckon that and act as if it is true. But expect that anything else could be true, too, and that there are always surprises in store.
Other possibilities, than the ones you reckoned with.
If I am a sailor I expect my sailing to go relatively smooth if I know the waters and the forecast, but to expect it for sure that would mean folly. I would not bring my life belt or life boat or radio, then, would I?
Or worse: I would not bring any excitement to the journey. For just as bad things may happen, just as the ordinary may very well happen, just as that … the very good things may happen, too. The very unexpected good things.