So I was talking to the Lad as I changed his nappy today. What? Some of our best conversations take place on the change table. Anyway I was telling him that this is one of the few phases in his life where he is going to get this kind of service, as I wiped him clean. If he was ever going to get it again, I imagined it would likely be when he was very old, and I probably wouldn’t be there to do it for him anymore. I would most probably be dead.
Then I had to stop for a moment not only because I had to take the liner from the nappy over to the toilet to flush away, but also because the reality of the sentence I just said so flippantly hit me like a falling cartoon piano. I had temporarily stunned myself into silence.
Mortality is a touchy subject for us mortals. I find it interesting that parents are supposed to fret over ”the conversation” (in BIG inverted commas), that one about where babies come from and sex and all that. Sitcoms tell us it’s hard, and that it’s one of the scariest moments in parenting so it must be true. Right?.
Personally I’m fine with that conversation. That’s a biological process which can be explained with metaphor or a nice allegory if needs be. Alternatively you can stick to the facts and talk about sperm and eggs and all that. It doesn’t worry me all that much, whatever floats your boat. I know how it works.
What scares the pants of me is the conversation about the other end of existence. What happens when we die? Now that’s some scary s***. Its a also something where my beliefs are not likely to be, shall we say, comforting to a toddler. It also sits uneasily with me because I don’t know what happens, and to pretend otherwise feels inauthentic while saying “some people believe blah…. Others believe bleh….” Sounds like a whussy copout that won’t sate the young ones thirst for knowledge at all.
Maybe I just think too much… It remains very likely that all my thinking will come to nought when its time to actually talk about it. Its also likely that we’ll have this conversation briefly and The Lad will simply nod and say “alright Daddy.” And move on without giving it any more thought, impervious to the existentialist crises that plague us older folk. And i’ll be left to contemplate the limits in my own existence, and the fact that my days are numbered.