Most mornings, now that I am back to work after my recovery, I have been slipping back into my usual morning routine. I wake up around 6:30, get my coffee, watch the news, grab a shower. Then I get dressed (kind of important) and I kiss my sleeping babies before leaving the house for work. This morning my little girl woke up ever so gently. She’s 4. She slowly rolled her head toward me from the top bunk and, opening her beautiful hazel eyes, looked at me. She reached out and put her hands around my neck. “I love you Daddy!” she whispered. How sweet. Made my whole day worth it. In fact, it almost made me forget the patch of white hair I had seen in my beard as I was contemplating shaving a few minutes earlier. For the record, I’m 36. I’ve been noticing physical signs of my advancing age for some time. Granted, I can blame lots of these on my spinal fusion. I’m supposed to have trouble walking. The fact that I don’t is just a blessing. The fact that I’m around teenagers everyday also helps me not to “feel” my age. Speaking with a good friend tonight I listened as he told me about his bad knees. “Man, we’re getting old!” I said. “When did that happen?”
So seeing the Daily Post prompt tonight gave me cause to think a bit deeper.
You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?
OK, let me think about this for a second. So I wake up and I’m ten years older. Let’s get the practical questions out of the way. Am I supposed to have simply rapidly aged? Is it only me? Are my kids and wife still the same age? That would be weird. What about the other people in my life? How old are they? Why don’t we go with the theory that we’re all ten years older and I somehow slept through the aging. I like that.
But that’s just it. I don’t like that. I wake up and I’m 46. You know what that means? It means I’m probably on the verge of another spinal fusion (if they’ll fuse three levels). I feel crippled because I probably am. I find my way to the kitchen for my coffee. Some things never change. I get showered and wonder where my hair went. I don’t contemplate shaving as if it’s a luxury now because if I didn’t I’d look like Santa Claus. I knock on my son’s door. He’s sound asleep. Of course he is. He’s 16. He was out last night in my car using my money. Hey, it’s the end of summer. Trying to get one last date with that college girl before she goes back. But he’s still a good kid so he mumbles something through the door. Sounds like “I love you Dad” but is probably “Leave me alone!” Knock on my daughter’s door. She’s tired but, ever Daddy’s girl, she tries to mask just how tired as she says “Love you Dad, have a good day at work!” I then say goodbye to the other three or four kids. Wait a minute. That’s a new development. What will I have named them? Decisions… And then I get in my car and head off to my job as the beloved principal of a Catholic school. As I carry on through the day there are no issues, no complaints from students or teachers. Everything is beautiful. It’s so beautiful I can leave early knowing that nothing will go wrong.
I head home to my beautiful wife who has only gotten more beautiful with time. She has prepared a wonderful meal. I guess it’s only lunch time now since I cut out of work early. I sit back in my leather chair, put my feet up, look across at a picture of our late Terrier on the shelf (tragic how he died, really). Then I contemplate how my life changed so much over ten years.
And then I remember that it didn’t and that this was perhaps not the most thought out prompt ever. Seriously it’s like watching that show Life Without People on the History Channel. They ask the audience to presuppose that human beings were simply “removed” from the planet en masse. Truly implausible. Bottom line: ten years hence I’m older, probably back in pain, hopefully with a few more kids, still loving every minute of my life with my beautiful wife.
I got nothing else.