One of my favourite things to do is imagine who my boys will grow up to be. Will they be bogans? Or hippies? Will they stay up late reading by torchlight like I did? Or will they ignore all books like their father? Will they be outdoorsy like him? Or will they curl their lip at the thought of a hike? (I just don't understand hiking. OK? I mean, it's just difficult walking, right? I don't even want to walk let alone difficult walk.)
Will they perform? That seems inevitable for Eddie. Every morning you'd think he was preparing for the Oscars, not kindy. Will either of them be introverted like their dad? Or will they both be that person who never shuts up, like their mum. I think it's heading towards the latter because it's 7am and I've heard 15,000 "why" questions already including "why does my blug stay in my body and how do I get it out?" Maybe he will be a goth?
When Eddie was very small, and asleep in the buggy (those were the days), I caught sight of a group of skaters at a skate park. The young boys were so tall and gangly and uncoordinated yet so sure of themselves when they were on their boards. They were cocky and confident, totally at ease with each other but there was clearly some rigid social structure underpinning their hang.
I thought about whether Eddie would be like them. Would he be popular? Shy? I saw a boy fall over and one of his friends cackled loudly and yelled to get the attention of others. Another helped him up and gave him a rough pat on the back. Would he laugh or help? Or do both?
I saw another boy absolutely fixated on tightening the wheels on his board. Another huffed angrily on a durry. I hope he doesn't smoke. I hope he doesn't see that almost every single photo of his father and I taken at night from the age of 17 to - umm - 26 includes a cigarette.
One boy had the loudest laugh I've ever heard. It sounded like a tin drum and I found myself smiling while I watched him. Eddie's laugh is so forceful, even at only a few months old. Would he be the child that made everyone laugh? Or would he laugh at others? I hoped not.
I thought about the type of parent I needed to be for him to help him freely become whatever he's meant to be. What qualities should he have? I wanted him to be kind. And maybe patient, since I'm not very and his father is very. But also not as shut down as his dad and so many other men can be. I want him to talk about his feelings. Feel he can be open, and maybe he can teach others to be open too.
Maybe he'll be a teacher. I hope he becomes something noble, but then whatever he does I'll be proud of him and - just then I realised the skateboard kids were staring at me. They'd formed a pack. They looked so wild and free! Oh, I'd like to be like that. I gazed longingly at them. Maybe I could ask them about their mothers? One of the boys yelled at me, breaking my daydream:
"Take a picture you creepy old lady!"
The moral of the story? It's probably to not spend 40 minutes watching teenage boys play in a park.