A lot of confusion recently from my two oldest sons on this whole mummy business and how it’s going to pan out. My six-year-old wants to know if I will still be young when he is a grown-up, and my four-year-old has got the wrong end of the stick completely. He is sure that in order for him to be a dad in the future, he will have ‘to find a new mummy’ altogether, and I will be out of a job. Which in a way is true I guess.
The four-year-old is also adamant that I do not become ‘a lady’ by which he means do not become an old lady.
Sometimes, I wish I could stay young so I could meet them at some sweet juncture where our ages cross, and we could transverse adulthood for a happy while together. Wouldn’t that be something? Meeting your 25-year-old child when you were 25. Or when you were both 40. I’d love to get to know them in that way, but short of time travel becoming a thing, I won’t.
The bending and folding of time never stops shocking me. How can I be dreaming about having children in my 20s, fretting for them in my 30s, surrounded by them in my early 40s all so – all so close together? And sometimes I look in my boys’ eyes now and fancy I see the adults they will become. I stumble into the future blindly but I imagine I see it there in the distance, too. Now is always now and we are so complacent about how this ‘now’ disappears at warp speed. (And yet, so much time with very small children feels glacial, snail-like; somnambulant drips of minutes stretching like glue through the day.) I think about when I’ll definitely be dead and that’s it, that’s my journey with these souls over, and I’ll never get to see them or the men they will become at 60, 70 and 80.
It’s our nature to surf on that wave of the next thing, the new thing, even when it’s just 10 minutes into the future. It’s kind of the carrot and stick method of living, it’s how we are built as humans. To bathe in the now just feels unnatural, unless you really set your mind to it and yes, get all mindful.
I don’t know if I’ve been doing that or not these last few weeks; I haven’t sat down to meditate, or reflect, or take deep breaths or any of those tools I found so useful a short while ago. There’s an other-wordly, precious quality to these lock-down days that ticks along beside the intense suffering of so many as the pandemic rips up lives and economies across the world.
I’m aware of it. How precious the days are. How lucky I am.