A while ago, Real Simple had an essay contest where you had to write about the first time you felt like a real adult. I always have these dreams of grandeur when it comes to participating in things. I guess it’s the optimist in me; I always start off imagining the absolute best possible outcome, which in this case, was having my essay published in the magazine. I was determined to write this essay and submit it, but for the life me, I could not pinpoint when it was that I felt like an adult for the first time.
I went back to when I technically became an adult at 18. Did I feel like an adult then? Nope, I was still acting like an immature moron. I took a look at when I turned 21. Yeah, I was pretty excited at being able to drink legally, but that alone was an obvious sign that I wasn’t feeling or acting like a real adult. I got married when I was 27 years old and even walking down the aisle in the big white dress didn’t seem to mature me too much. Afterall, my best friend and Matron of Honor, Sara and I sat giggling the entire time I was supposed to be signing my marriage license. Three years later I was pregnant with our first baby – surely this was it. Nope, I don’t recall feeling any more like an adult while pregnant or even after my little girl was born. In fact, I think I may have regressed a bit after that. A couple of years later, along comes baby #2. Here I was, a mother of two children and I could not recall feeling like I was an adult during any of this!
I gave up on writing the essay because I feel my best writing comes when I have a personal experience to draw on. I couldn’t identify with being a real adult and therefore, felt I would have this forced, cliche filled essay that would suck. There was no way I would win any contest writing like that. (Yeah, that was the reason I wouldn’t win. *wink wink*)
The last date to enter the contest had come and gone, but I still kept trying to figure out when my magical grown up event occurred – if ever. Could it be I was still living the life of a kid and only my facade was reflecting an adult? Doubtful. And when I say doubtful, I mean, my outside looking like an adult. We used to live in a college town and whenever I was downtown amongst the 19 to 21 year olds, I truly felt that I fit in.
I was in my early 30’s, highlighting my hair to cover the grays and actually buying face cream that spoke of reducing the appearance of wrinkles right on the bottle, but in my delusional mind, I wasn’t sticking out at all. So sad. I even told Ryan that I didn’t feel like I looked much older and he assured me that I did. That’s nothing to mince words about. I needed that little bit of grounding.
I finally had my moment in September. My daughter, who is now 5, needed to be excused from school for a day because we were going out of town for a wedding. I had to write a note to her teacher. BOOM! It hit me like a ton of bricks! I was writing a legitimate letter to a teacher. Not one that I forged for myself or friends, but a real, honest note to get my daughter out of school. That piece of paper sat in front of me with only a greeting at the top for a good 5 to 10 minutes before I was able to articulate a simple explanation as to why my daughter would miss one day of her 1/2 day pre-k school day.
I can honestly say I didn’t really like the feeling of being all grown up. It was confusing and strange – like puberty. Luckily, the moment passed and I’m back to feeling like a kid again – maybe a college kid.