Saturday, September 27, 2008

Age games

Watching a grandmother help her grandchild into the car last week at school pick-up, I started thinking about my own potential grandchildren. Will I be alive to see them? I'm not trying to be gruesome. I'm just doing the math.

Due to many circumstances beyond my control, I had J when I was 38. That doesn't seem so old, really, but when I project into the future, if J waits until he is 38 to have a child, I will be 76. Hard to contemplate.

When J has his Bar Mitzvah, I will be 51. When he goes to college, I will be 57. When he graduates college, I will be 61.

When he is the age I am now, I will be....85.

It boggles the mind.

In shul today, I saw what was left of a family -- a mom probably around my age, and her 3 children, the oldest probably 13 or 14 -- who had lost their husband/father a few weeks ago at the age of 46. They looked pretty good emotionally. I was a wreck. I'm sure when that couple decided to have 3 kids, the thought that the dad might die so young never entered their minds. So now she's a single mom with 3 kids and no one to help.

More than anything else, the biggest surprise of parenthood has been the realization of just how much J needs me. Sometimes he'll just lay his head on my shoulder and breathe into the place between my shoulder and my neck, and it's like he's breathing oxygen. He needs me. One of my greatest fears is not being there for him.

Hopefully, I will be able to be there for him for a long time. I have pretty good longevity in my genes. Maybe, if all goes well, I'll be able to pick up my grand kids from school sometimes after all.


Anonymous said...

Boy, Adena, you touch many chords with me. I, too, have done the math with my family and come out pretty much the same. Have always thought that if my kids wait to get married as long as I did, they'd be wheeling me into the ceremony (like they did with my grandfather but, hey, I'm the mother!) And one of my biggest fears (I have many) is not being able to be there for my children. B

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