I remember asking my father this over and over again when I was a youngster; one of many such questions which, whilst being but a small child with little emotional and intellectual capacity, I knew instinctively were the source of grating annoyance to all adults.
Other such examples which I personally delighted in, were "Are we there yet?" and "Caniva [insert whatever you like - ice cream, lollypop, balloon, t-bone steak...]?".
But, "how long is forever?" was one that Dad seemed to pause upon, ever-so-slightly, before offering his usually, entirely unsatisfactory (and perhaps, like a seasoned sparring partner, deliberately, equally abrasive) reply, "Go and ask your mother".
Interestingly, the particularly unusual pause before answering seemed to signal that some truthful answer existed somewhere deep within him, and the fact that it remained unspoken perhaps hinted at some regretful, or even shameful element. Perhaps it was that which kept me asking ... or perhaps it was just that I was an annoying brat.
Outwardly, however, the question remained, for me, unanswered ... until recently, when faced with the responsibility of raising Little Hambones. I can assure you now, after experiencing it on a number of occasions in the last four months, that infantile sleep apnea has finally answered that often repeated question. I can now confidently assure you that the time taken for your baby's next, sleeping breath can seem like forever, and forever can be a very, very, very long time.
Maybe not Hawaii – more like the back-seat of the Kingswood on family holidays. My parent-given nick-name seems to have moved up in the world. Pic: www.myspace.com/