You think I'm kidding - but I am not. Once children reach the age of reason, and really once they start to mature into semi-deep-thought-thinking beings, I want to run away from them.
Tonight, I watched an episode of This American Life (from the Showtime TV series) that focused on teenagers getting their photographs taken as high school sophomores. It was all there: their embarrassing ideas of what is cool, their pimples, their braces, their conviction that they'd remember the hot guy forever, their ability admit they'd make a mistake with no knowledge or ideas about how to fix it... I cringed. I kept saying, "awwww" and "ohhhhh" and my eyes actually got a little teary. My husband, on the other hand, laughed. A good-natured laugh, but he still chuckled at their growing pains. Not me. I shuddered.
So if anger masks fear... what does fear mask? Why am I so afraid of teenagers? Is it... could it... might I be totally in tune with that teenage part of myself still? Might I remember sharply, precisely how they feel? Might I avoid them like the plague... because... what I really want to do is swoop them up in my arms, erase their Facebook profiles and internet tracks, tell them to stop talking for a second and make them know they'll get out the other side of high school. Where they won't remember half the details, but they will remember every single one of the feelings.
*Thank Anne Shirley for the use of italics.*