He reached the door before me and held it open, waiting for me to catch up, to enter the building. He said hi, and it seemed as though he was saying it in a way as if he knew who I was. Then I realized, he does know who I am! Because I know who he is. But he is maybe 6” taller than when I last saw him, and his hair is different (and to be fair, it was slanted in front of his eyes at just that moment). He has been at our house for Christmas dinner almost every year over the last 11 years.
Since he is in grade 12 now, he isn’t home if I have gone over, and he isn’t with his mom, when she and I visit of course, so I haven’t seen him since last Christmas. He has a job, has school, his friends, that keep him busy. And my boys keep equally busy, so either family seeing any of the kids is a rare occurrence now.
I noticed someone I know post in the local Facebook community page just last week that she really appreciates it when teenagers will say hi to her and remind her who they are. We meet lots of school kids our own children’s age, but then as they grow into teenagers and young adults, they can change quite drastically in a short time and we most often don’t realize they are kids we know. The timing of her post was quite synchronistic and had me thinking of this topic over the last few days leading up to today. It also had me think of my own behaviours. I grew up being quite shy, and although I don’t consider myself that way now, old habits still stick around and I don’t always outwardly and exuberantly greet people. I have also reflected that I know who some kids are that know my boys – through school or hockey, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily know who I am. Or, at least, much of the time I assume they don’t.
Another thing I have always appreciated though, are the parents that do greet and talk to all their kids friends. The ones that make a point of acknowledging and chatting with the kids. So it is my intention now, to be more alert to the teens around me, and if I do realize a moment late, to go back and say something, even if it’s an ‘oh hey, nice to see you again!’
Kids are always going to be changing, and if I have ever regretted anything, it’s always been the times that I didn’t say hi, or realized a moment late and didn’t go back.