What You Owe Us

Dear son,

I was feeding you dinner tonight while Mom was out having a celebratory drink with her colleagues from work; they had a big win this week, her particularly.

It was a four-course meal: White cheddar cheese, peach cubes, peas, and banana.

You’ve gotten into this game the last couple of weeks where you like to give your food away. Sitting in your high chair, you like to hold pieces of toast down for Jessica Jones to snatch, who is glad to come back again and again.

Tonight, you started holding your peas out to me. The first one, you snatched back and put in your own mouth, but then the second and third, you put in mine, giggling all the way.

These words slipped past my lips: “May I live to be an age that you have to feed me one day.”

A thought. A prayer.

It’s one that nearly brought me to tears. I was 37 when you were born. That’s not particularly old, but yes, I often wonder how many years I have with you, if I will get to live to be the age to see you have your own children, if that’s the path your life takes. I want to see the circle of life fully come around, and reach the age I need caring for, to see as much of your life as I can.

But then I started overanalyzing it all as I am so often prone to overanalyzing everything, and I want you to know, I really don’t want you to ever have to feed me. I don’t want you to ever feel you have to do anything for me, or your mom. This is something she and I have talked about a few times. We never want to be a burden to you.

If we’re lucky enough to get to old age, let the nursing home staff feed us and change our diapers, and listen to me tell the same stories over and over again. We brought you into this world, but we want you to know you owe us nothing other than going out, making your mark, and being a good human to others.

No more, no less.

Love you, kid.

-Dad