I was at the playground yesterday, unloading Wyatt from his stroller, when two teenage girls dropped off two teenage boys at the skateboarding park. As soon as the boys got out, the girls cranked the music and peeled out. My first thought: someone should get after them because that's dangerous and there are kids (like mine) nearby! My next thought, a millisecond later: oh, I remember that feeling! It was a gorgeous day here yesterday, their windows were down, they felt cool and you could just feel it radiating from their little SUV. And for a second I just stood there, remembering my high school days that felt slightly rebellious (yet really weren't. No seriously, Mom & Dad, they weren't.) and like you had your whole life waiting for you, just beyond the next curve. The idea of independence was forefront and the process of becoming yourself was all-consuming.
And then I took stock: this is not who I thought I would be, a lifetime later (becaue literally, we are discussing half a lifetime ago for me), yet it is. It so totally is. While I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up (if I grow up), I am a mom and a wife and I'm - most days - blissfully aware of how great I have it. I'm happy, just like I always intended to be. And I've surprised my sixteen-year-old self with the things I've done (hello, marathons?), the places life has taken me (uh, never thought I'd go to Asia, let alone live there and fall in love with it) and the person I am turning into (slightly OCD with my house - trust me when I tell you that former me would not recognize that quality in current me!) Part of me wanted to run after those girls and tell them to have so much fun, but mostly I wanted to tell them to always wear their seatbelts, to be so careful and to be mindful of others. It's as though I'm perched between youth and truly being an adult - I've been wondering when I'd become one!
So in fifteen years, when Wyatt's that kid in a car feeling cool, I hope I can still remember then sensation of being a high school kid on the cusp of life. Then again, I hope I can forget it enough to make sure he doesn't make some young mom worry about her baby at a playground.