Friday, October 14, 2005

Because Mummy is an old woman

I was brushing my son's teeth. Once or twice a week I feel I have to make sure his teeth are brushed properly.

While I was doing this he raised his hand and ran a finger down my face. 'What's this?' he asked.

'What's what?' I replied, being a bit miffed.

'What's this?' son repeated, running finger down one side of my nose and past the corner of my mouth.

'That? O, I suppose it's a line. Your mummy is old. She's an old woman. Old women have lines on their faces, you know. You don't mind your mummy being an old woman, do you?'

'No,' son said, 'I don't mind.... Actually I do, because that means you would soon die, isn't it?'

'Yes, but I hope to live a lot longer and not die so soon.'

That is what happens when one has children late in life. We have never tried to hide from son the painful realities of life -- like death. And he has worked out that Mummy and Daddy, being older than most (possibly all) of the parents in his class, are likely to die, well, a bit sooner.

People often tell me (some ask nicely, but others TELL me) that it is time we had another child. I maintain that if a woman requires reading glasses to read dosage directions on medicine bottles, she is past having any more babies. Many people do not accept that husband and I are older than what they think we are.

This morning I asked a friend at church how it was possible that they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. 'Did you get married at 18?' I said.

'No! I married at 25.'

'Gosh! That makes you 50. You can't possibly be 50. I was sure you were younger than me.'

'Well, I chose my parents very carefully.'

We might have 'chosen our parents' well and look younger than our age, but our bodies feel our age. I pray that, by the grace of God, both husband and I would live long enough to see our young son accomplish something special in his adult life.

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