But Where Was I? The Existential Three-Year-Old

So, the other day, we’re in the car, and Gabbie (who is prone to say quite bizarre things anyway, given that she is three-ish) starts in on me with “I wish you an’ Daddy hadn’t a-gotten married.”


Me: Um, okay…  Why do you wish we weren’t married?  Do you wish Daddy and I didn’t live together?

Gabs: No!  I wish you hadn’t a-gotten married because I wasn’t there, an’ I wanted to be der an’ be in your wedding!

Me: Ah, I see.  Well, darling, that’s not how time works.  If it makes you feel any better, Deedee* wasn’t there either.

Gabs: She was in your tummy.

Me: No…  She wasn’t there.  Neither of you were.

Gabs: But where WAS I?

Me: Neither of you existed.  You just…weren’t.

Gabs: No, BUT WHERE WAS I?  (Now almost crying) I was in your tummy!

Me: Okay, okay.  You were in my tummy.  Both of you.  At the same time.  (Under my breath) Because I was pregnant with twins for four years, and then one of them was born, while I continued to be in labor with the second for three and a half years.  Whatever…

It’s funny, but I also felt really bad for her.  Here she is, having talked herself into a position in which she’s forced to contemplate her own existence, something she is clearly not qualified to do.  The thought of not existing isn’t just scary to her, it’s incomprehensible.  Of course she was somewhere because where else would she be?!  (Note that I am not a particularly religious person, and so I didn’t resort to any “you were with the angels” or “you were waiting in heaven” or anything.  I don’t know that it would have made her feel better, it wouldn’t have made ME feel better (or very true to my own belief system), and it probably would have necessitated even further explanation of the unbelievable but patently scientific fact that she just…wasn’t.)


I also love the idea that she really wanted to be in our wedding–I think it’s sweet.  Is it most likely motivated by an urge to wear a fancy dress and eat cake?  Absolutely.  However, there are lots of decisions I make with similar motivations, so I’m not going to judge.  It’s slightly sad, but I think it’s lovely that she wants to have been there for an important moment in our lives, that she feels left out, not being included.

Obviously, there’s no real point to this post–it’s just a story, but I found the entire conversation interesting.  Just the way her mind works, her inability to contemplate a time at which she wasn’t.  I often find myself with the same problem–not for myself, although clearly I know no other way, but with the girls.  I often think back to trips we took pre-kids and catch myself thinking, “But what did we do with the girls?”  Good thing I know now.  They were just in my tummy the whole time.

My "twins", Christmas morning, 2015.  Clearly, we're not letting go of that World Series win anytime soon...

My “twins”, Christmas morning, 2015. Clearly, we’re not letting go of that World Series win anytime soon…


*She calls Maddie “Deedee.”  Has since she was about 13 months old, and I hope it never changes.