Am I grown? The hell if I know. I’ve always been old. So, so old. My heart has always been claiming social security (better now while we still have it) and my soul has been crinkled with age. So damn old.
When did it happen?
Was it when I graduated high school and never looked back? Or even younger, when I fed Grandma pears as she withered away to Alzheimer’s? It could have been I traced my fingers around and around the magnolia tree to escape my parents fighting.
Maybe it was let the hot water rain down on me, clothes and all, after having my innocence stolen from me at 19. Maybe I grew up when I married and started paying “real” bills and cooked the single worst meal of my life. It involved tater tots — I will never discuss this again.
I could have been forced to grow up when the floor boards of my Datsun 210 blew out and cold, slushy snow came exploding into my car while my husband drove. I suddenly related to The Flinstones.
Was I a grown up when I faced my first class, first period, at only 21 years old? I was terrified. I definitely felt grown up when my husband was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease. The internet was practically new and when we searched for it all we could find were articles saying he would die. Mercy, I wished I hadn’t been cheap on his life insurance policies.
(He didn’t die.)
Sitting in my master’s program I associated with other pseudo-grownups. We thought we could change the world. Some of us might. Some of us won’t. Some of us are right now. I met good people.
I felt just a pinch older with my first child and I did feel more weary when I lost my baby. And yet, with the baby I have now I almost feel I have aged backward. My children delight me and time stands still with them.
Ten years ago when we moved into our first house all of our belongings were unpacked in half an hour. That’s how little we had. We were in a position to save a whole year of my husband’s salary for our down payment. That house has become our home. I felt pretty grown up then.
In this new house, I learned to sew curtains (they’re crooked), bake apple pie (I went through five pies in three days once), brine turkeys (perfect the first time) and I have mourned (oh, have I mourned). I’ve grown in this house. This house has seen joy and sadness, beauty and pain, my marriage has struggled and reconnected, and through it all this house has known love and laughter. It is a perfect nest for growth.
But am I a grown up yet?
I don’t see myself as grown up. I see myself as growing. I have much to learn, much to accomplish. I see the world spinning around me in slow motion still and I have yet to touch it all. There’s still time for me to nestle into the cotton and softly let the air tuck me in. I want to hold my arms wide open and catch it all. And grow.
This post is part of the two week Scintilla writing project where we share our histories by writing our stories. Day 2: When did you realize you were a grown up? What did this mean for you?