Grown up

I can remember sitting down to write this post back in May of 2012.

We were living in our old house, with big dreams starting to percolate.

We had only one child and two jobs outside of the home.

I referred to the David Bowie song and, now, sadly, he is no longer with us.

Now, as I sit down to write about the way our lives are morphing and evolving, I see the changes around me.

We have a a new house, but one that we will be leaving in less than three weeks.

We have two children and one job outside of the home

(the other being this, right here, which has become my job—how amazing is that?).

And, most striking of all, I think that we have all grown up.

***

There are so many quotes about things happening slowly and then all at once, and that is exactly how I feel about each of my kids.

As I type this, my daughter is sitting next to me, reading a long, complicated book on insects.

She is reading with facility and true comprehension and I feel like she has now found real joy in reading to herself. She can take any book or sign or phrase scrawled across the TV screen and read it. An entire new world has opened up to her. The entire world.

She is also incredibly mature and empathic. Her understanding of complex human emotions is uncanny.

This year, she has learned so much about life, and, unfortunately, had to learn to cope with death.

She is a source of support and strength for me.

Tomorrow she turns six. I can’t type those words without my eyes brimming with tears.

She is so grown up.

As I type this, my son is stretched out across the radiator, because why would he sit in a chair?

He has grown from a baby to a toddler to a little kid. He is active and dexterous and funny.

He does impersonations, can mimic complicated yoga positions & gymnastics tricks and he just started to draw real faces!

And, finally, he talks. He talks and talks and I can understand him, which is even more of a feat.

He and his sister make up games and he uses his imagination beautifully.

He knows what he wants.

He, generally, knows how to get it.

(I often walk into the kitchen to see a chair pulled over to the cabinet and another to the toaster oven, and then, will find him eating a warm Pop Tart.)

He is so grown up.

I am so proud of my husband. He is a rock star. He is honest and strong and good and brave. He has been dealt some blows and has taken everything in stride, accumulating strength along his journey.

He makes me feel honored to have grown up with him.

And then, here I am.

It’s funny–

I am now 31, the mother of 2 kids and about to sell my second house.

But what makes me feel really grown up are some of the little things:

Registering my daughter for first grade (holy cow, that is a doozy), wiping out her lunch box so that it is clean for the next day, and some advanced parenting, dealing with issues like grace, honesty and, most challenging of all, picking up the pieces when one of my kids has crumbled.

My daughter had her first sleepover on Friday, and being in charge of another child overnight was certainly a milestone for me. It felt grown up.

And here is the hardest part to admit: I am extremely proud of each of my family members, as I have said, and I am even proud of myself sometimes, but this whole “grown up” thing isn’t always easy.

In fact, is isn’t even often easy.

Yesterday morning, post-sleepover, my daughter melted down. She had been looking forward to it for so long that when it was over she could not handle the disappointment and sobbed in my arms. We stayed in pajamas, in my bed, and I validated her feelings.

And next thing I knew, I heard my front door open, and the voice of one of my oldest and dearest besties calling, “Bec?” from my foyer. She had been driving by, saw my car, and popped in to say hi. She ended up bringing her two kids in from the car and we got to hang at my kitchen table and we talked about things like home improvement projects and house sales and cooking and it sounds so boring but it wasn’t at all. It was relevant and it made sense, because we are living lives as mothers, whose husbands spend the weekends painting the garage and doing projects around the house and so we get to share.

Don’t get me wrong: with my long-time friends, like this friend, we often reminisce about our shared past. We tell stories of old middle school antics, high school dances and life as young adults.

But, whether we like it or not–

which sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t–

we are no longer “young adults”.

We are grown ups.

But wearing the uniform doesn’t always make me feel equipped for the job.

And I am going to admit something that is hard to admit, as it makes me feel slightly incompetent and very guilty:

I don’t always want to have to be the grown up.
Sometimes, I just want to sit on the couch and not have to get up 18 times to retrieve a glass of juice, Band-Aid and missing plastic ice cream cone. Sometimes, I am scared to be home alone with the kids, with a long list of tasks ahead of me. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it.

But what I have realized is that I usually do do it.

This past week I managed to get both of my kids to school on time every day. I made more than one meal for each mealtime, packed lunches, kissed boo-boos, cleaned up even bigger boo-boos, went to a parent-teacher conference, did bedtimes, sang showtunes to little ears/with little mouths and taught lessons.

I dealt with some tricky personal issues. I worked on my own healing. At night, I focused on music and even recorded some of our songs.

I did a lot. And it was often tiring. And sometimes, I wanted to be the one to stay in bed and ask for more time, a cuddle and a glass of pink lemonade. But that’s not how it works when you’re a grown up.

And so I can either choose to reject my new age and new stage or embrace it.

And I think I am going to go with the latter, because, as I wrote in that post all the way up at the beginning of this page, and as David Bowie sang, “Time may change me” and it has.

And moving forward I hope to change for the best. So that my daughter can read even more advanced books to me. So that my son can learn to speak more eloquently because of my help. So that my husband feels just how much he is appreciated for doing all that he does.

I am a grown up. I have grown up.

Up I grow.

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