Living in Newburyport as a mother I worried as my child grew up, what good mother doesn’t?
I remember carrying my son out under my arm, him kicking and screaming, and wondering what in the world people might be thinking. When I see mom’s doing the same thing now, I give them a broad smile and say to them “been there,” knowing that that was just part of the process, and it turned out just fine. I want to say, “Honey, it’s Ok, you’ve just joined the millions.”
I see the latest crop of “urchins” as I used to call them, popping up downtown. I forget exactly what age, somewhere in Middle School, probably around 7th grade. I remember the utter fear of every parent that their child would be hanging around downtown in front of Richdales. I think the location changed to in front of the library, I’m not quite sure where it is now.
When I pass the latest crop of “urchins” downtown, I just smile. I think they are so cute. Their strike at independence so obvious and now to me so benign.
And when I walk along the playground at the Brown School and see the pick-up games going on at the basket ball hoops, I want to clap. I want to shout, “Yes! Good for you! You go guys.” Of course I don’t, they would think I was crazy and I would completely embarrass them. But I always think it.
And probably my favorite, are the kids on Inn Street. I remember the fear of every parent, that their child would be hanging down at “that place,” doing who knows what. But I think they are delightful too. It’s all I can do not to stop and sit on the bench where they are, say nothing, listen to their conversations and just enjoy the fact that they are there. I asked my son if he thought they would mind, and the answer was, “Yes, Mom.” So, so far, I’ve managed to refrain.
And now that my child is older and about to graduate from college and about to go onto whatever is next in his own journey, I get such delight from seeing all the kids, all over Newburyport. I know that things will turn out in varying degrees of “success” with some tragedy along the way. But I thoroughly enjoy that they are part of my experience of living in Newburyport, Massachusetts. And even though they are completely oblivious that I see and enjoy them so much, and that they enliven my experience, I would like to thank them for the privilege of just having them be there.
Mary Eaton, Newburyport