Friday, May 4, 2012

Ingenue No More

You never sported a gamine haircut nor pranced in sassy short dresses but still you remained timebound around the age you were when your eldest entered the world. You began marking time by their milestones, not your own, and your own age crept up on you. You had no idea whatsoever that you had become the older generation -- for the moment the tide turns has no signal -- but suddenly here you are. You're in bed late at night when your child stealthily confesses feelings for someone, a classmate, and your stomach lurches just a little, for you are on the other side, ingenue no more, but older person, parent of the person who has feelings you remember only too well. How exactly is it that time has passed like this and you are neither the lovestruck teen nor even the person entrusted with a little baby, but instead standing on the outside, hoping the object of affection is worthy, is kind, is good, eats vegetables, walks with grace, holds hearts carefully. In short, is a worthy ingenue, now that the mantle must be passed. You feel oddly dislocated in the midst of rootedness, an existential shoving over. You want to take that child of yours and do everything you haven't done yet, tell them once again about how to be and live and love. They tell you about growing pains for children, they tell you about the angst of adolescence. What they do not say is that growing pains happen over and over again throughout your life, and that while you would have it no other way, you still feel an ache late at night.

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