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10.16.2010

A Screaming Sea of Denim

I had a curious evening. Tio had his first 6th grade dance at the local lodge and I figured I’d take Kit to the movies after we dropped his big brother off.
We saw Life As We Know It, a romantic comedy about an unlikely couple raising a baby. I figured Kit might like the antics with the baby. Well...turns out the parents die and leave the baby with two people who a)don’t know they’re named in the will and b)have never liked each other. Setting the absurd suspension of disbelief aside, the story could have been with grandparent getting the baby, instead of a young couple, and having to decide if it’s worth rearranging their whole busy lives for the child. The parallels were strong, even if the plot was weak.

As we sat in the dark watching this couple fight about keeping the kid, or running back to their old lives, leaving each other, etc. Kit kept getting closer and closer to me so we were practically hugging. Every time one of them had doubts about staying the course, I could feel his fingers wrap around my arm and his head lean into mine like a plea for me not to follow their advice. He reacted viscerally possibly afraid that Tish and I might feel the same way.

We drove back to the dance and were a half hour early so we went in. Man, what a scene. A hundred and fifty grade 5-7 kids, a screaming sea of the almost adolescent barely holding it together in pheromone soaked jeans and tees. Tio tries to act so cool with his friends at school and the local rec center. All gangsta and ‘yo dude s’up’ trying to fit in and be apart all at the same time. But here in the mosh pit, watching a contest where they try to wiggle a cookie from their forehead to their mouths, the little boys and girls were not so far from the crib, either. Each of them on a fragile edge that could tumble them either way.

The movie said the same thing: that too many young parents aren't so far from their own childhood, living just for themselves and not knowing whether to push forward or give it up. In the movies, they always make the right choice. In real life, too many walk away. They walk away from something they should never have walked into in the first place. In the movie the loving parents die; nobody’s to blame. In life it’s not so easy or blameless.

We live in a society where the children don’t know when their parents will give up on them. It happens all around them. There’s something wrong with that premise. The thought of parents leaving should never have to enter their heads. When will we ever grow up?