2 min read

🐻 Goth Sasquatch Sighting? Perhaps.

🐻 Goth Sasquatch Sighting? Perhaps.

It sure still feels like Summer, but it isn’t. It’s Fall.

I know this, because the calendar reads “1st Day of School - 12th Grade.” My first born is about to start their last year. Senior year. The last 9 months Portland Public Schools will have a hold of them.

Crushes. Drivers licenses. Romantic Interests. College Visits. Just Friends. Cross Country Meets. Future flirtations.

It’s a weird thing, kids getting older and you staying the same.

But that's not true — we’re both different; the kid and I. But these last two years, I feel more marked by their changes than my own.

There’s a maturity that’s appearing, a sense of responsibility borne out of the weight of the future. It’s visible, palpable.

It is an optimism matched with realism, “I love this college, this college would be so rad, but yeah, it’s true, I probably won’t get into that college. But there’s others and those are good, too.”

A trip to Chicago to look at schools cemented the future. Cemented the realness of the future, the closeness of it all.

This year, as the last years anywhere always do, will fly by.

One of the funniest things I’ve noticed in the last two years is things I’ve told him in the past echoing back at me as finally true, often phrased as a question to me, “Did you know that Chicago is really cool?”

“I know, motherfucker, who the fuck you think told you about it?!” is not how I answer that question, though I desperately want to. Instead it’s with a question, “Oh yeah, what do you like about it?”

An elevated train? Hot dogs? How big it is? Art happenings? Music? The Lake? Pizza? Public radio stations? A lot of people doing interesting things?

“Oh, crazy, I had no idea.”

Will Chicago be where they end up? Who knows. It doesn’t matter, really.

Because that’s just it — when your 17-year-old, who’s normally a cool cucumber, as disinterested as a scenester at a band’s show they really like, starts telling you they are excited about something — you listen. You don’t “I told you so,” you just listen.

And I guess in that way, I’ve matured too.

A bunch of essays, photos and thoughts by Pat Castaldo.