I got thinking, realizing that Heather would be turning two this month, and that I'd be turning 39 and a half this month.
ASIDE: (I realize that most people don't take note of their half-birthdays, but I do. The (unintended) result is that my birthday is a really easy really fun day, in part because I don't have the baggage of turning another year older. By the time my birthday rolls around next March, I will have been thinking of myself as "almost 40" for six months. So, I don't expect the actual turning of 40 to be all that hard, just as the turning of 30, 35, and pretty much every other age since 30 hasn't been very hard. The other (unintended) result however, is that sometimes September can be just a little bit daunting--as the following story illustrates.)
Anyway, as I made that realization, I started doing some math, realizing that in 10 years, Heather would be twelve and I'd be almost fifty. In 20 years, she'd be twenty-two, and I'd be almost sixty, etc. That's when I realized that by the time Heather was my age, she'd have a mother that was nearly eighty years old! Horrors!
Images of my little baby taking care of her aging parents flooded my brain, reducing me to tears. What if we were incapacitated and she were forced to make those hard decisions that I'm hoping to avoid making with regard to my own parents? What if we weren't able to get her another sibling here to help share the load? What if Eric and I died early, leaving her an orphan in her twenties or early thirties? I'll stop there, but be assured, the runaway imagination was in overdrive, churning out circumstance after tragic circumstance. As I shared my (semi- irrational) fears with Eric, he tried every trick in his bag to calm me down, from compassion to humor to even a little bit of tough love.
Eventually, I came to the realization that there was no point in stressing about all of this, because there was absolutely nothing I could do about. It took Eric and I a long time to find each other. There's nothing I can do about that. I couldn't have Eric's baby daughter ten years before I'd met Eric, and so Heather was just going to have to deal with having older parents.
As I calmed down, I turned over and tried to go to sleep for the night. As I was lying there, I had a thought, which I shared with Eric, which then prompted him to give me what might be the Eric quote of the year. Wanna hear it?
CHARLOTTE (reflectively): When I die, I hope I die quickly. Like, not heart-attack or car accident quickly, but maybe something like, I get really old, and my immune system is shot, and I catch a cold, and a week later I die. That sounds good to me.
ERIC (also reflectively): I hope I'm ripped apart by tigers.
I laughed for five minutes straight at that. Tears were coming out of my eyes, and my stomach was aching.
And then, I went immediately to sleep.
Tiger Photo found here.