When I’m 18
Remember as a kid looking forward to getting older? Getting set for that next big thing? Attaining a certain right of passage.
I had a list of things I couldn’t wait for when I was young. Getting my ears pierced, wearing makeup, getting my driver’s license, having a boyfriend.
When my youngest, Maxon, was five years old he announced, “I can’t wait til I’m 18, so I can have guns and smoke.” I was stunned. Guns and smoke? I felt like adding, Don’t forget the booze and trampy women. But I couldn’t. I was speechless (which rarely happens).
I mean, hadn’t we set a good example of positive things to work for? Suddenly I had visions of my son living his version of the “good” life. Yep. Mr. Cool walking around with a pack of Marlboros rolled up in his sleeve.
That was two years ago. I thought it would be interesting to find out if his answer had changed, so I asked him what he looks forward to about being 18 now. “Nothing.” Was his first response. Nice. This made the smokey treats look good.
On to the oldest. I was curious to hear if he was also looking forward to nothingness. He had a list of things he was excited to do when he turned 18. “ I can vote. I can drive a car and get a cell phone. I can buy my own stuff.” Okay, I was feeling better now.
I gave it a rest for a little while, but my Virgo instinct told me I had to get back to that question for my youngest son. But I modified it a bit. This time I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up.
He told me he wanted to be a police officer. Now, we’re getting somewhere. That was far from doing nothing. But I decided not to ask anymore questions. Those answers are likely to change every time I ask.