Kathryn focused on the job before her. She held the celery firmly to the cutting board with her left hand, the right gripping a sharp knife that ripped into the vegetable with a sound so crisp it launched her into a catatonic daydream. Her concentration slipped as her son David took over her thoughts. A timeline washed out in front of her. She remembered him, a little boy, sitting across from where she was now at the kitchen island, eating his fruit loops, his hair still showing remnants of sleep. She smiled lightly as the little boy before her rearranged his fruit loops into groups of their respective colour and suddenly he aged three years, the fruit loops now formed into a perfect eggs and bacon smiley he had created on the plate for himself, a proud grin on his face.
“What do you want to be when you grow up, Davey?”
The now ten-year old child looked up at his mother, a string of bacon hanging out of his mouth as he chewed slowly. His dark blue eyes sized her up quizzically before he shouted, “A Police Officer!” He smiled brightly, Kathryn matching his excitement. “You can be and do whatever you want to do, honey.”
The boy continued to age 5 years, his hair so long now that it swept in front of his face. Kathryn couldn't see his eyes. She reach over and brushed his hair to one side with her fingertips.
David recoiled from her and shook his hair back into place. Her smile faded and she sighed as she looked at the untouched plate of eggs and bacon. This time she had arranged the smiley. David hand’t noticed. His face glued to his iPhone screen.
“Hey, Davey? What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The boy looked up at his mother and scoffed, “Who cares?”
He got up and as he aged three more years while walking away Kathryn now stood in the kitchen alone.
The front door slammed shut and she jumped slightly, her thoughts evaporating into the present.
“Hi honey.” Kathryn continued chopping the vegetables in front of her. David grabbed a beer out of the fridge and kissed his mother on the cheek. She smiled weakly and looked after him as he
slopped himself on the couch, his fathers beer in hand. Her now 26-year-old son looked scruffy. His beard long, his hair tied up in one of those male buns. His long-sleeved pink shirt, not the same length shirts used to be. Now they flowed down right below the buttocks. His jeans too tight and ripped all up and down the front of the left and right leg. She worried. It was 2 in the afternoon for crying out loud and here he was yet again. Kathryn desperately wanted to ask him what he is going to do with his life! What his plans are. However, she refrained from those kind of questions. They just started arguments.
Millennials… The ‘me’ generation. He had become so entitled, expecting more than he deserved. Unlike her husband who climbed his way up the company ladder, David was positive he would land a CEO job soon, just being himself. Just by doing the bare minimum. She was baffled with his confidence. Where did it come from? Must have been all that unnecessary praise. Those 26th place trophies, for what? Showing up? Was it her fault? The school had recommended helicopter parenting. She knew it was crazy. This constant positive reinforcement. It wasn’t getting him ready for the world. This is not how the world worked. He would eventually experience a very harsh reality check. She didn’t even know what he did all day. He was constantly sidetracked by technology, and if it wasn’t his phone it was that girl. The one in the yoga pants. She often brought him vegan green smoothies when she visited. God forbid Kathryn ever called her his girlfriend. That was another argument.
“No labels, mom. We appreciate our freedom. A person shouldn’t belong to another person.”
Nonsense. She rolled her eyes, remembering the discussion. 26 and no prospects, no girlfriend… how was she supposed to get her grandchildren? Again she glanced over at her son who held his phone at arm's length away from his face. She heard the camera snap. Selfies… she grit her teeth, her annoyance bubbling up through her veins. She took it out on the raw steak she was tenderizing. With no control she beat down on it, with each ‘BANG’ exclaiming:
“Indecisive. Technology-Hungry. Lazy. Narcissist.”
-written by Actress In Reality