I Know Them.We recognise each other in a few words usually... hell sometimes without words.
My 12 year old is one, Richard.
It's strange but when I look back it was almost a 6th sense. The only one of the five I saw it in but from about the age of 4 I saw it, clear as day in him.
I know what he's going to say before he says it. I know the things he will enjoy without being told, the things he will hate and the people he will be drawn to or repulsed by. He's me, yeah. Me at 12.
He saw her picture once in a pile of other pictures and grabbed it asking me with a look of wonder on his face... "who is she". I took a long time to answer... "she was called Philippa" and he looked at me studying my face. "she's beautiful". I nearly cracked there and then.
She wasn't 'pretty' but as my sister once said "when she entered a room, everyone looked". Yeah, my dysfunctional angel. the girl who didn't break me but made me. Her badly made man.
School tells me weekly "he's very smart but he doesn't care, he doesn't use it... he's not interested in being clever, he's interested in pushing the boundaries and he's a nightmare around girls. we have to sit him away from them or he and they get nothing done. You need to have a talk with him!"
"What for?" I ask. He's 12 and working on restoring a bike with me that would kill him if it fell on him. He's understanding the engine and rebuilt a carb while I rebuilt the other 2. He did a hell of a job too, smooth as silk and spotless after he'd done it.
He could be anything but I know, I know what he wants in life, what he's already looking for.
He's looking for another wild one. Another wired wrong.
At least he has something I didn't. He's got someone who knows the tightrope. Knows the exhiliration up on the wire and knows how bad the falls will be.
Months ago he asked me "when it's fixed dad, can we just go out on it somewhere?" and I grinned. "Yeah. We'll go up to the lakes and just ride". "That will be cool dad".
It will yeah kid. And for as long as I can my wild son, i'll be a safety net for when your Philippa makes you lose your balance and fall.