Once upon a time there was boy. He was adventurous and full of energy and curiosity. Every day, his mother looked at him and wondered how she would survive his adventures. He was always climbing too high and riding too far and, what was worse, inventing new uses for previously safe pieces of household equipment.
For a long time, it seemed that the boy had not heard his mother's voice. He grew up, and he grew away from convention. He learned to take other people on adventures. He learned to talk about risk. He learned to listen to the voice inside his head.
Then one day, he realized that the voice inside his head was his own, and it told him wonderful stories. But the pictures inside his head came from a different part of him, the part that had heard his mother's voice telling him to be careful. And so when his words filled him with excitement about infinite possibilities, his pictures reminded him to be home before dark and shut the door. And when his words led him into intricate schemes, his pictures showed him a clear way in and a clear way out.
For a time, this worked brilliantly. He had big dreams and he limited his capacity for danger. It was just like being a kid. He carried a watchful parent in the pictures he made. One day, he made a picture of himself. He realized that he was far younger in the picture than he was in the mirror.
He looked closer at the face in the picture. He added a line here and a shadow there. He made the jaw a little firmer, and let the little lines around the eyes draw attention to their sparkle. He raised one eyebrow, just a touch. He set the mouth with more determination. What he saw was not the face in the mirror. He saw the face he wanted, a face that was capable of resilience, a face that could take the risk of being in it for the long haul.
He looks at that face now, when the words in his head begin to drive him to something new, something edgy, something adventurous. If the face winks back at him, he lets the words have their way. If it doesn't, he slows the words, lengthens them, mingles their excitement with determination.
When he sees his mother now, hope flows between them like a current.