Last night, for the first time, my son drove for 45 minutes in the dark, on the interstate, through road construction, with a carful of teenage boys, to go see a movie. Needless to say, I was anxious. Needless to say, he behaved beautifully. But I did spend all evening trying not to imagine what might be happening to him . . . errant deer, drunk drivers, asshole cops, patches of black ice, distracting chatterbox friends. . . . One remarkable thing about this boy is that he is patient with my fears, but he also doesn't let them turn into his fears.
Here is Joe Bolton's poem about dead teenagers: "In Memory of the Boys of Dexter, Kentucky." It is so hard to read, yet it feels so true to me, even though my own teenager is alive and fast asleep in his bed, even though I haven't been a teenager for 30 years. I love them so, those fragile, reckless, beautiful, painful, ignorant beings that we are, that we were.