DD brought up the topic of 12/12/12 in the car on the way to school today.
“It’s a very special day today,” she said. “It’ll never happen again because there aren’t 13 months.”
To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about it. It was 7am and I’d been up since 5.20am, washing my hair, getting ready, making packed lunches, packing school bags, dressing children, cleaning their teeth and dashing out in the car as the sun rose.
As DD brought up the topic, I was accelerating through six lanes of dense traffic onto Emirates Road. It wasn’t the best time for a discussion.
But once we were in the fast lane, I clicked on the cruise control and turned a little of my focus to the conversation.
“It’ll happen again in 100 years,” I told DD, “when it’s 12/12/2112. Your great-grandchildren might be talking about it on their way to school (in a rocket ship) in 100 years’ time but none of us will be around to see it.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because we’ll be dead,” I said. There was a tiny gasp from behind me. I could almost hear DD’s eyes snap open with shock.
“Dead? What’s going to happen to us?”
“Nothing darling, it’s just that you won’t live that long. With the best will in the world, you won’t live to be 107 and a half. DS could potentially be 103 and a half, but I doubt it. And I certainly won’t make it to 141.”
“So, mummy? We’ll be dead after you?” piped up DS.
“Yes, that’s the general idea,” I said. “But I’ll be waiting for you,” I added, trying to offer some sort of consolation as it seemed a terribly depressing topic for a bright school morning. As we talked, we were watching the pinky-orange sun come up over the desert dunes and the distant Burj Khalifa light up like a rocket in its golden reflection. “I’ll be waiting for you and I’ll be so excited to see you again.”
There was a thoughtful pause. Then…
“But mummy,” said DS very seriously. “You’d better take the iPad, because I’m going to be a long time.”
Sweet words from my littlest one – and how I hope he’s right.