13 July 2009

when did you grow up?

It was a couple weeks ago that I was flipping through a copy of "Real Simple" magazine and saw an essay contest asking would be authors to write about the moment they realized they were really, true, honest-to-god adults. Since that moment, the thought has popped into my head several times, interrupting my best efforts to remain forever trapped in college mode.

And my efforts to not grow up have been pretty impressive.
I am one of the last of my friends to hold on to non-motherhood. Not because I don't adore babies, but because I also adore laziness and sleeping in, and beach trips and unplanned runs to the store, and freedom to do what I want, pretty much when I want. The puppy can go in a crate (but rarely does when I am not working!) but a baby can not.

I watch E!, I read Twilight and buy US Weekly if anything about the movies are on the cover, I waste money on iTunes and more money on Coach bags. I still punch new holes in my ears and plan on tattoos in what my husband considers my midlife crisis (giving me a lifespan of 62. thanks, Babe.) Credit cards are still used, and 401K's...who really needs them. Especially when 11% goes to the pension plan anyhow, thanks Mass teacher retirement fund.

BUT...despite this...I did discover this month that I am, in fact, a true grown-up.

Several occasions illustrated this to me in glaringly obvious and painful ways. Let's look at last week-

Monday - Try to plan camping trip with girlfriends. Two of us must "check with husbands" first. (Reminds me of being a child, checking with Mom) Three of us must schedule around parental doctor appointments. (When you hit the "real grown-up stage", you take your parents to the doctor and help them fill out forms, give medical histories, and calm them down.)
Go to dermatologist - instead of being inundated with sun safety and acne info, shown botox info. Awesome. Told that "freckle" on face is "age spot". Revolt with third piercing in each ear. Now I look 15 again. Except the little sign indicates that I need a parent to sign if born after 1990. I was in high school in 1990, wasn't I?

Tuesday - Bring mom to doctor. Try to help her with "these ABC's that you're so good at"...by that, she means the medical terms and abbreviations. I am not good at them because I have a master's degree in reading, I am good at them because I have a list of them on my own medical history: GAD, SAD, IBS, GERD. Have anxiety induced stomachache waiting for mom's appointment, which the nurse asks me to accompany her in for. "My mom needs me too, she is forgetful". Um...shit...when did my youthful mom get old enough to need me to help her? when did I get old enough to be helpful?

Wednesday - Funeral. For the day old daughter of friends. When you see the child of someone your own age pass away, you know that you are the older generation. When you see any child pass away, you wonder how it could happen. I believe that we needed more angels and she was too perfect for this imperfect world, and so was called to be an angel. I imagine my 'other mom', my nonna, and my mother in law, in heaven, cooing over her and taking care of her now. I pray that her family finds strength and comfort, but can not imagine how.

Thursday - still sullen from yesterday, I head to the dentist. They show me the clipping of my wedding announcement from three years ago. Three YEARS ago?! While my mouth is otherwise busy being scraped and polished, I think back those three years. Then, I think back the 7 years before that. Then, I realize that my husband and I have been together for TEN years. Then, it hits me that he has been out of college for ten years and had I not taken that year off, I too would have been out for ten years. Next, I recognize the fact that we have been out of high school for 14 years. Good god. Grown-up. The hygenist and I talk about our parents' health. Grown-up.

Friday- I go to the beach with three friends. I am the oldest. By five years, at least. On the ride home, someone asks about a guy from my husband's home town. "He's old." He's five years older than us. Yeah, he IS old. He is probably not Grown-up. He is looking for legal representation. Knowing what I do of that family and town, he's probably functioning on an 18 year old maturity level.

I AM grown-up. I worry about my parents' health. I worry about a mortgage. I plan to have children, eventually, and realize I need to be less selfish to do so. I have seen loss, and fear it, but know it is unavoidable. I lose words, and have to stop and think to recall ideas that used to just pour out. My age has a three in the tens place. I am seriously considering entering an essay contest. You can win money...for more coach bags. :-)

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