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Song to the siren.

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Sorry, folks. No exorcism tonight.

I went to my younger son’s school open house tonight and a curious thing happened: A pair of girls hailed my older son by name.

He did not seem to know them well, nor did he much acknowledge them, but he turned a little red around the edges anyway.

And I had a weird, fleeting thought: I wonder what the girls who break my sons’ hearts will be like.

Not just the ones who go out with them as they get older, but also the ones they long for from afar — the ones who always seem to leave the party in high school or college with someone else.

(And yes, as a progressive 21st-century parent, I acknowledge that the girls who break my sons’ hearts might be boys. That doesn’t feel quite as romantic and bittersweet to me for some reason. But if that’s what happens, they’re still my sons.)

I’ll probably never know what most of them look like, or whether they’re smart or athletic or flighty or chatty or whatever. Nor should I know; nor do I want to know. It’s not my life, after all.

At least from this vantage point, I bear them no ill will. Everybody gets bounced around some over the course of their lives, my kids included. Hopefully their future crushes won’t be completely vindictive bitches … but if they are, that will be a life experience too.

I expect I’ll probably put this whole random idea on a back shelf and forget about it until my oldest is somewhere in high school, and I pick up the yearbook he’s left lying around the house, and thumb through it.

Or maybe it will be a stray note left in a jeans pocket while I’m doing the weekly wash that brings the thought back to me.

For now I think I will go up and tousle their hair as they sleep. And then I will get some sleep myself. Tomorrow will be here soon.


One response »

  1. I am a bit late getting to this lovely essay, but thanks for writing it. I’ve had a similar thought regarding my favorite niece, who’s going to be 11 this year. Somewhere out there right now is a boy who’s going to break her heart someday . . . and someday I’m going to have to kill him.


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