On my way to work each morning I pass a high school with dozens of kids streaming off the public buses, down the streets and onto their campus. I look though the crowd and try to find Matthew and Christopher. Oh that's what he'll be like, no wait, not that disheveled, no not that.... well, pierced. I can never find Matthew, though that maybe just a reflection of the neighborhood that does not produce many blond kids. Though his hair may be darker by then, at least in the winter.
This trip I realized I should look for a Cara, Mark and a Mike as well. Cara I can see in almost all of the pretty girls in their stylish jeans and furry boots, long glossy hair spilling out of their "Eskimo" coats. Walking with friends or boyfriends. I see her in the Pizza parlor I often share with the high school lunch crowd. I overhear pieces of her future conversations about the swim team, the school work and peals of laughter drifting off the table where she sits in clumps of kids.
I can't seem to find all of my boys though. I don't have any idea what they will look like, the roles they will either choose or be forced into. It takes my breath away when I see a table full of these energetic and healthy teenagers and realize there are just 5 sitting there. My lucky dining room table in 10 short years,at least on the days I can get them there all together, ah my future is so bright I have to wear shades!
What will we be like? Can we talk? How can I bring the relationships now into the future? It is scary and exciting. On rough days they want to sit close to me, they glow when I make the time to sit and play a game, and endless desire to hold my attention. A bad patch made up for by swooping the kid into my arms kissing the bridge of his nose, or ticking his tummy. These easy outs for mistakes, harsh words or lost patience will no longer be available to me. What will take their place? Will I have learned to be more cautious, not criticize and hold my tongue? What will the cost of that be? They will no longer really know me if I can't speak directly, if each word is guarded. There will be an inevitable gap.
I do see, despite what every ICarly, and Hannah Montana show would like you to believe, parents close to their teenagers. I look with trepidation and despite my misgiving excitement toward the kids future. I think they will continue to bring me laughter and heartbreak similarly to how it is now.