The *What-If* Game
says that he sees a little boy with blue eyes and dark hair. "The
for darker hair is usually the dominant gene," he explains.
viewfinder of my overly-sentimental imagination, I usually
picture a little girl: a daughter with delicate features, not unlike
those of her older half-sisters, but with David's blondish hair and
translucent blue eyes. I've even given her a name --
Madeleine Louise -- although we would call her 'Maddy' for short.
It's a game David and I
play sometimes: describing the child we might have had together, had we
met and married earlier in life.
We play all of the other
silly, speculative, What-If games that midlife newlyweds play. What
if things had been different, and we'd gotten married twenty years ago?
Would we be sober today? Would we be solvent? Would we own a home in
the Marina District ... or in Normandy Park? Would our marriage still
be going strong?
would I be referring to him as 'The Anti-Husband' on the website, right
One of the drawbacks of
falling in love in midlife is the wistful (and utterly futile) feeling
that washes over you, occasionally, of Having Missed Something
Important. It's a little bit like walking into a movie theater twenty
minutes into the main feature: you've missed the opening credits, the
storyline is already unfolding, and even if you bribe the
projectionist he isn't going to stop and rewind the film just for
*you.* Discovering your heart's one true love -- at the same time
you're discovering gray hair in unspeakable places -- means that you'll
never know what your Significant(ly Older) Other was like when they
were in the full bloom of youth.
Of course this is
also one of the BLESSINGS.
I'm never going to see
David with a full head of glorious, wavy blond hair ... but then again,
I'm probably never going to see him with a Camel Light dangling out of
his mouth, either. He's never going to experience the full *majesty and
glory* of those twenty-year-old bazooms (except via ancient Polaroids)
then again, he's never going to have to duck when I throw a
plate of spaghetti at him, either. As cute and appealing and fabulous
as we both probably were at age 18 (or age 25, or age 30) ... as nice
as it might have been to start out in life together, choosing china
patterns and looking at ultrasounds ...
there is no denying the fact that we would have been a disaster if fate
had flung us together before we were sober.
We would have been a
"Cops" episode, just waiting to happen.
consolation prize for having had to wait until miscellaneous body parts
were falling off/falling down/falling apart before we found each other
is that we're better people than we were, twenty (or ten, or five)
years ago. We're both more emotionally evolved, more stable, more
comfortable in our (slightly baggy) skin right now, in our
mid-forties, than at we've been at any other time in our lives.
And it was worth the
As for having children
together? For all of our speculating and second-guessing and
*What-Iffing,* we both know that that's a ship that has already sailed.
Even if the world were a safer and more certain place than it is right
now -- even if we were to win that bazillion-dollar Power
next weekend and could afford an entire platoon
of home health care professionals, housekeepers, nutritionists and
developmental specialists -- we would probably still be
bring a child into the world. I'm too old, frankly. He's too
overworked. We're both too broke and too tired and too preoccupied with
the children we already have (and adore, and worry about obsessively,
and wouldn't trade for for all the Lapsang Souchong in Alameda).
But that doesn't mean we
don't feel compelled to indulge in The *What-If* Game, every once in a
while ... just for fun.
throw a rock