Monday, December 01, 2008

All Grown Up and Nowhere To Go

I am 34 years old, and still do not feel entirely grown up. I like to think that I will never be a grown up, and a large part of me will still do things like drive too fast with the radio in the car blaring. On Thursday, Todd and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. It seemed like such a grown up thing to do. I set the table and actually cared about how the plates, napkins and silverware looked, and that they actually came from matching sets. Todd slaved over the stove, and I cleaned the house and fretted over dog hair on the furniture. The guests we had for dinner have been to dinner at our house a kabillion times, and don’t care about dog hair on the couch, or dust in the corner of the room. They’re our friends and our family and they came over to be with us.

But there’s something about hosting a big meal like Thanksgiving to force the inner adult to silence the inner child. I’ve seen people flip out over making Thanksgiving dinner the perfect meal that Martha Stewart would approve of. They scour the Internet for recipes and they make impossibly difficult centerpieces out of things like cranberries, pinecones and gourds. Todd and I survived our first Thanksgiving without freaking out too much about it. We had a lovely time with his parents and our friends. But I still don’t entirely feel grown up, even after hosting a major holiday meal.

Today I was looking at a picture of my sister C. In the picture, taken 5 years ago, she was my age and she’s holding her newborn 4th child. And it’s funny because I don’t think that a childless 34 year old and a 34 year old with 4 children really are the same age. We’ve taken different paths in life. Five years ago she gave birth to her 4th child, and I was getting married. Yet, if you put the two of us next to each other at age 34, she would instantly have more credibility as a grown up than I would. Never mind the fact that I’ve been in the working world and she’s largely been a stay-at-home mom. Never mind the fact that I’ve finished my master’s degree (she’s almost done with hers, just 3 more classes to go and just suck it up and finish, C!) I’ve learned to sail, owned my own business, and held I don’t even want to admit how many jobs. I’ve lived abroad, I’ve travelled alone, I’ve lived alone, and I’ve dated a lot of guys--all the things that my sister didn’t do. But somehow I feel like all that experience falls short compared to her giving birth to, nursing, potty training and raising 4 children.

Does having children force one to be a grown up? What exactly is a grown up? Am I just a “different kind” of grown up? And if so, why do I have a gigantic zit on my forehead?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Heidi said...

I don't know when it is that you feel "grown up". I think having kids does force you to be grown up since you're now responsible for another life besides your own but I think other life experiences like traveling or owning your own business helps you be a grown up too.

December 1, 2008 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

You're just a different kind of grown up. I've got a kid and I still like to watch Tom & Jerry or drive with the music too loud. It's just the way it is.

And you have a zit because Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel woman who thinks it's funny to make me bald, grey, AND give me a zit.

December 2, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

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