When I Catch Myself Wondering about You


wonderingSometimes I catch myself wondering about your future self.

I wonder if you will have crushes on or date any of the children who’ve been your elementary school classmates? Children who’ve been your partner for those interview activities at the start of a new school year? Children who’ve shouted your name at dismissal? Children whose parents I’ve befriended? Children you’ve chased in yards? 

And then I catch myself and realize it’s just a silly make-believe game I’m playing out in my mind’s eye.

Who knows who will catch your heart? Who knows if you will be remotely interested in lending your heart to someone else?

Sometimes I wonder if the friends you have now will be your forever friends. Will you break the rules together and have each other’s backs when your shenanigans are exposed? Or will you hurt each other as you grow apart? In college, will you be each other’s memory of home, as you visit each other or room together? Or will your many years together make you long for distance, a search for a different version of yourself who can no longer be the person your friend had always known?

And then I catch myself and realize that I’m just replaying different scenarios that happened to me. Perhaps, some of your experiences will mirror mine, but they will be yours in their own right.

When I wonder, I never see any specifics of where you will end up. I have no visions of a particular college campus or the job you will pursue after graduating college.

But my mind dreams up college, which I realize is potentially an idealized goal that will not match the reality you want for yourself.

Perhaps I am hyper-conscious of how much sway a parent’s ideals can have over a child because I have been teaching for close to 20 years. I have heard students cite their parents’ desires as a reason to sign up for a particular course, join a certain club, or apply to a certain college. I have listened to guidance counselors offer advice about navigating the disconnect between a student’s perception of self and the parent’s perception of them.

I want to be careful about where my imagination takes me as your mother.

I want to remember that wondering, picturing scenarios in my head, is healthy, but only if they are bursts of curiosity here and there. Short conversations I have with your father when we’re trying to fall asleep. Cute, passing jokes I whisper with my friends, the parents of your friends, when you’re all off playing together.

I have yet to vocalize my wonderings to you. 

Instead, I love listening to the details that decorate your dreams, and I want to nurture them however I can.

You tell me professions you’d like to be. You tell me what you envision about that future life, and I can hear the hope and passion in your words. Who will you be? I’m not sure.

You will be who you will be, and I will love you for being yourself.


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