Thanks to Facebook, I sometimes learn of things I'd rather not know.
The other day, I got an email from a girl I dated 20 years ago. She's doing well - a loving husband, a few kids, she's happy.
However, she is about to become a grandmother! This threw me for a loop. I'm in my mid-thirties and would be nearly ready to comprehend parenthood, she's a couple of years younger than me and hitting "the next level."
For her, it's a mixed blessing. Her teenage daughter is about to become a mother, which is an awful shock. It will likely affect her schooling and social responsibilities. However, by having a baby so young, my ex is able to help raise the child while giving her daughter the freedom to still retain some of her youth.
For me, it makes me feel old. Theoretically, I could become a grandfather if there's an accident I haven't been told of*!!
When I was young, I saw grown-ups as having their s**t together. Men worked, drove, and supported the family. Women either worked outside the home or in. They were polite, usually sober, went to church, and always knew what was going on. By the time my dad was my age, he had been a professional rugby player, a father twice over, and had been a qualified pharmacist for almost a decade. My mum had given birth to two boys, relocated to a foreign country for her husband, and had a nearly-fatal brain tumour.
As for me, I'm a newly-married middle-class guy in my mid-thirties. Mid, mid, mid. Once or twice a year I drink enough to forget where I'm going and smash headfirst into walls and drunk-dial coworkers. I kick at cars that nearly run me over. I spend my money on guitars, watches, and holidays, so I have NO savings hidden away. I swear like a sailor (slurring), fantasize of a life completely different to my own (except for the inclusion of Wonderful Wife), and feel completely powerless to change the things I really want to change.
The discrepancy is tremendous, and what makes the thought of grand-parenthood so shocking.
I wish her all the luck in the world, and hope she's more the childhood ideal than the reality.