While it’s easy to focus on the worry and planning and unknown part of not yet having our family — or, you could say, of not yet being in our future — anticipation can be fun as well.

Before going into what’s nice about anticipating having kids, I should explain that Jay and I sometimes joke about our potential¬†retirement careers. This is partially a fun what-if game, inspired by friends who’ve done cool things as second or third careers. But also it’s a way to blow off steam when work’s stressful or the daily grind gets one of us down. Currently for our “next” careers we’ve settled on running an elephant and monkey rescue. (He’ll focus on the elephants, me on the monkeys, though hopefully over time the monkeys and elephants would become quite fond of each other too.)

I think it’s self-evident what great fun a monkey-elephant rescue would be, but the video story about a rescued elephant who befriends a dog (at the end of this post) will convince any doubters that this is quite possibly the greatest thing we could do in our golden years. But that’s getting ahead of things, way ahead!

Back to today. I realized when Jay gave me a little stuffed monkey and elephant for my birthday, that our recent jokes and discussions about the joys (and challenges) of running our fantasy wildlife rescue are also a fun way of dealing with the excitement and anticipation of being dads-to-be. Having no idea the gender or any other configuration our family will take, I’m pretty sure that our visions of primate-pachyderm¬†chaos might not be too far off the mark from scenes with actual children running about.

I remember in particular some friends’ kids chasing me around the living room with some animal bone in a joyful crazed pack–that kind of thing. It’s a sweet memory, and also probably a glimpse our future.

But what’s kind of fun about the anticipation is the now of it–right now, getting lovely, quiet time to imagine how I want to be with my kids, with the world and myself for that matter. Daydreaming of what might be is delicious, and doesn’t really need that exact thing to happen.

Though I’m counting on the elephants. Here’s the video: