The other night, my husband and I were on the bus coming home from a concert. It was about 11:15pm. Bus clientele at that time of night is always interesting, a slice of life I don't get all that often, and sometimes I marvel at how gentle the most unexpected people can be. (The fact that I find this unexpected probably says more about me than it does about them. But I digress.)
After a few stops, two young women got on the bus. They were chatting away, trying to untangle the earbuds for one girl's i.pod. They sat down and giggled and plugged in the earbuds, sharing the two between them so each got one ear's worth of listening, and chatted away.
They were pretty clearly happy to be away from adult supervision, which I am guessing they may not have much of in their lives. It's the clothing choices that led me to this conclusion (although, yes, I am aware that teenaged girls can wear one outfit out of the house while sneaking a completely different one with them, but these girls had no purse or bag whatsoever, so unless they hid their long-sleeved prairie girl dresses underneath a tree, I think that's unlikely). One girl was particularly, you know, well-endowed. And, might I add, braless. (Another hint that she might not have an adult around to help her with that.) Every once in awhile you see a young woman like this who is clearly unaware of the impact her physical appearance has on others, but this one seemed pretty aware of it. Tossing her hair, smiling at any male within spitting distance, laughing and chatting and on the downtown bus at 11:00pm without any adults nearby...
...and I panicked.
Not for her, because she actually seemed fine. I hope she is okay in this life, not just that night, but each day. No, I panicked because I realized that my child, at that moment happily sleeping away at her grandparents' house, is one day going to be a teenager. With boobs. And the option of low-cut t-shirts. Without a bra. And going on the bus. Downtown. At 11:00pm. Even though I would not be okay with most of those things, but some of them I don't get to choose (hello, boobs) and some of them I might not get to control (hello, downtown bus at 11:00pm) and OHMYGOD she is going to grow up and then she will go away and then she will be on the bus and old creepy guys might look at her and I will not always be there to beat the everliving shit out of them if they do and possibly some horrifyingly-named Congressman might tweet her an inappropriate picture or she could get drunk one night and do something dumb that can't be undone and and there are a million other things that could happen and OHHOLYMERCIFULLORD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT?
Kind of took the fun out of the evening for a moment.
There were some other kids on the bus too, and when I say, "kids," I mean, "college-student-aged-people" who would, no doubt, hate being called, "kids," but I am old now so that's what happens. Anyway. They looked responsible. Mostly scanning their varied hand-held devices and not paying attention to anybody else, but they also looked like they were not likely to be on any "Girls Gone Wild" episodes anytime soon, so that made me feel better. I took a deep breath.
There are days when I cannot wait for Baby Girl to grow up, at least enough so that she will be able to a.) nap; b.) no longer require diapers; and c.) tell me what she needs (although I realize this comes with a whole bunch of other talking-back so that's kind of a toss-up).
But that night, on the bus, I wished she could stay like she was, right then, forever. Sleeping in the pack-and-play at the grandparents, or safe in her crib at home, where I can walk up the stairs and check on her at anytime.
I realize this isn't going to happen.
But a mom can dream.