Growing up, I remember day-dreaming of the day I would reach adulthood. I would fantasize about driving a car, going to a restaurant without my parents, learning to say my “R”s, and other such exciting things. My best friend, Sarah(Sawah), and I had a regular “game” we’d pull from our repertoire we called “college girls”. We would go on imaginary dates with broomsticks (I can’t make this stuff up) and come back to our super chic apartment and talk about how our nights went. As I grew older and reached new milestones in life, I’d wonder when I would really feel like an adult.
When I started driving, I felt pretty darn good about myself. Almost there! Almost a grown-up! I could go anywhere I wanted as long as I had my cell phone and was home by nine. Then, I graduated high school and moved to college with-(guess who?)-my best friend, Sarah. Alright, NOW I actually AM an adult! Why, then, didn’t I FEEL like one? I was paying bills, working, going to school. Hell, I didn’t even have a curfew anymore! Hmmm…maybe I just needed to be old enough to order a drink.
Twenty one finally came….then 22 and 23. By 26, I had gotten married and moved into a house with my husband. I’m somebody’s WIFE. I do laundry for someone other than myself. Now, at 28 (almost 29), I am somebody’s mother. This is just insane. I have finally come to accept that I will never completely feel like a grown-up, and I imagine other people feel the same. I think of my residents at the nursing home. Do they still feel like 10 year olds? Do they still think of themselves as confused 28 year olds who wonder when they will finally get to wear their big girl pants?
Occasionally, at what seems to be the most random of moments, I have these strange epiphanies. I will do something as simple as change the sheets and suddenly realize that I have reached adulthood. Here are the few moments where 10 year old me goes, “You’ve finally made it!”
- Attempting to get a baby food stain out before it’s too late. This is something child (and even early adulthood-me) would NEVER do. Spill something on my shirt? Eh. Let it sink in. Gives the shirt more character. Mom can worry about it if she wants. BUT NOW I AM THE MOM! And the shirt is my son’s. This little shirt is the CUTEST! I mean, how often do you come across such an awesome shirt that has a porcupine on it, roasting marshmallows on its quills and asking you if “You want s’more?”
- Taking my car to a repair shop-I recently had a nail in my tire and was so proud of myself for taking it to get repaired. How awesome am I? I’m a adult woman, doing adult things, keeping my vehicle safe for the family. I’m all, “Hey, I haven’t seen the leak, but I can only assume there is a nail somewhere in my tire as it continues to slowly deflate.” I didn’t mention that my father had told me that it was probably a nail since I keep refilling the air and it survives a few days before going flat. After my tire is fixed, I ask the man, “Was it a nail?” He says, “Yes, ma’am, it was.” I smile and say, “I figured.”
- Being at the airport– I know my way around an airport. When I’m there, I’m going places, because I’m a big girl. *fist pump* Do little kids just go to the airport, check their luggage, go through security, and find their gate? And do little kids then, WAIT until all zones have boarded before boarding because why would you want to sit on that plane any longer than you have to? No. No, they do not.
- Speaking to a resident’s family member about their condition-This still blows my mind. When a family member and I have an in depth conversation about their loved one and I start to realize that I am educating them on the situation. I am advising them on how best to handle this transition. Then, I realize that I actually know what I am talking about. I understand their condition and am explaining it to people who are usually my parents’ age. The child inside me is all, “You go girl!”
- Washing my dogs-It’s not that I never washed my dog growing up, but I certainly never did it voluntarily. My poor little Phuzzball, a mousy little yippy terrier, HATED baths. Mom would complain about the dog smelling–you know–like a dog, and I would have to wash her. Now, I understand that with smelly dogs come smelly houses. I am the one who wants to wash the dogs. Rick and I always wash them together. It’s a team effort with our two sixty-pounders. When we are done and the dogs are all clean, I have a strong desire to change all the sheets and clean all the floors, because GROWN UP.
- Killing a spider. With Rick’s weird schedule, I don’t have a man to yell for every time I see a bug in the house. Although, my husband (AKA Dr. Doolittle) would probably just save the little spider’s life by putting him outside. When I was little, dad took care of all things creepy crawly. Now, I am the one in charge. No, no, Mr. Roach, my cat is not taking you to my baby so he can pick up and attempt to eat you THIS time. You. Are. MINE.
- Doing my taxes. I don’t really pay any bills, although I did before I was married. Rick takes care of all that stuff. However, I have done my taxes (and now our taxes) since I was old enough to work. I am responsible citizen of the United States of America and I do my taxes on time, every year. Thank God for the IRS! Wait….
- Getting stuck in traffic. When you’re a kid and you dream of driving one day, you don’t think about traffic. Or maybe you do. Maybe you pretend you’re in a traffic jam in your little red Barbie powerwheels that your parents gave you for Christmas. You even put your head on the steering wheel like you’ve seen your mom do a few times. You might even yell, “Move out of the way, yo yo!” to an imaginary bad driver. Little did you know, tiny human, that this dream would one day become your nightmare. Why are traffic jams so bad? Because grown-ups are busy. Grown-ups have schedules to keep and plans to be made. They don’t like to wait.
- Running. Every time I run, which hasn’t been very often here lately, I think, WHAT AM I DOING?! This is literally the worst thing I could be doing right now. I’m not an exercise-person, but I do watch my weight and when I’ve gained a few pounds, I run them off. I care about my weight because I care about my health. I’ve never heard a child say, “If only I could get this last bit off, I’ll be ready for swimsuit season” At the end of a run I think two things: First, Well, that was terrible. Second,Where is my adult certificate?
- Shopping for Christmas presents. Or any gift, really. Once I got married, I inherited 4 beautiful nieces and one handsome nephew. The other nephew isn’t so handsome. KIDDING. I only have one, and he is extremely handsome. I also gained 2 sisters, 2 brothers, and 2 parents. I learned quite quickly that in this particular marriage (and statistically, quite a few others), the wife is the gift-giver. I am responsible for most gifts and cards, excluding our nephew who Rick likes to buy for in order to live through him vicariously. Every time, I wrap a gift or mail a card, I feel like the motherly wiferly adultery—-er——-adult that I have become.
These moments of adulthood are confusing, but comforting. It makes me think I might be doing this right. I might be a child on the inside observing my adult life, but I feel I am doing a good job of playing the part. I was worried becoming a mother would make me lose touch with that weird little kid with a speech impediment that was me, but it’s done quite the opposite. I get to be silly and play and laugh at the DUMBEST things. I get to burst into song when it just feels right. I get to eat goldfish from my baby’s hands.
I don’t think adulthood is a real thing. It is a word used to describe a number and a new set of responsibilities. It doesn’t mean you change who you are as a person. I may have grown and I may have learned a few things, but I will be little Webecca Boys until I’m 101. 102? Maybe, then, I’ll feel like a grown up.