When I was younger, my mom used to tell me that you don’t magically turn into an adult one day. You are always just yourself, regardless of your age. I thought I understood that then, but I think it’s only this past year I’ve really started to grasp the concept.
I was talking to the husBen a week or so ago in the context of these horrible letters received by my mother and I, which I won’t get into because it just makes me angry and sad. I was overanalyzing (as I tend to do), and was focused on the fact that my mom was addressed as “Mrs. Huston” and I was addressed as “Stephanie.” Ben pointed out that it might be my age, to which I retorted, “I am a twenty-seven year old mother of two, married to a city commissioner. I would like to think I’ve earned adult status by now.” The words that came out of my mouth kind of took me by surprise. Am I really those things? Sounds pretty grown up. Many days I still feel a little like I’m a child, playing house. Nora likes to assign roles for make believe all the time: “Now, you be the daddy and I’ll be the mommy and he’ll be the kiddo. Now, you be the horsey and I’ll be the scary monster. Now, you be the princess and I’ll be the bad man and I will lock you in a tower!” I’m just playing the role of wife, mother, employee, board member, volunteer, and so on.
My cousin, Aubin, and I were talking about how twenty-seven somehow seems so much older than twenty-six. It’s officially late twenties. It’s a new box to check on surveys, I recently discovered: 27-34. A couple months ago, I overheard mom talking with someone and saying her eldest child was nearly thirty. WHAT?! I have a secret older sibling?? ……..Oh.
I’m back at work full time again. This is my third week back since having the baby and everything else that occurred. Since my going back, we’ve had an 18 year old young man come to our home to watch Emeline- Her Manny, if you will. When I was first discussing the possibility of this setup with him, he called me Mrs. Ezzell. I froze the moment I first read that… Who is Mrs. Ezzell? I’m not old enough to be referred to that way.. I’m only a year or two older… Wait, no… I’m only…. NINE years older than someone who just graduated from high school. I’ve only been doing “grown-up” work, paying bills, being responsible for myself and my pets for about eight years… I’ve been a parent and responsible entirely (well, with Ben, of course) for nearly three. That seems like long enough for it have sunk in, right?
When did the magic transition to “adult” happen for you? Was there a moment you realized you couldn’t Peter Pan your way out of it? Or does everyone, regardless of age, just feel a little underqualified for the life he or she is living?