When do you become a grownup? There are times when we all feel helpless, childlike, and wish for the calm surety apparently possessed by our parents or grandparents, but do these instances ever diminish in frequency? Theoretically I know that no one is ever as “grown up” as we perceive them to be as children. So when do you stop feeling like they are?
I live in a university town, where childhood (or at least irresponsible adolescence) blooms perpetually, refreshed every four years by a new onslaught of freshman. Having graduated from said university and worked in myriad local coffee shops over the last six years, I have a lot of connections in Neverland. I also have recently acquired a husband, a child, a house, and a small entrepreneurial venture of my own. More importantly, I have a delightful, 50’s-cheap-but-still-very-cool china cabinet that belonged to my great-grandmother. These things are traditionally harbingers of adulthood; some might argue they even cement one’s status as grownup. My family is still (endearingly?) eccentric enough to blend in with the resident kids, but this tenuous relationship is becoming increasingly uneasy.
I suppose the ways in which we approach adulthood are just unusual enough to disguise them a little - I cloth diaper, my darling sister is our roommate, we built our own clay pizza oven in our back yard, my business is making French macarons in our home kitchen with our 11-month old on my back, my husband rides his fixed-gear road bike to work – but truthfully, I suspect we are grownups in disguise. Recently a friend of mine with a little daughter suggested we go on a picnic, so we got out our strollers and walked to the park. I never could shake the feeling that we were pretending. After snorting with laughter at the idea of two mid-twenties ladies gleefully pushing around pretend babies, I started to get a little disturbed by my own attitude. A while ago my husband and I were renting a movie at the local independent movie store, and we overheard this conversation spoken from a girl to her boyfriend: “…no, just because the movie is about babies doesn’t mean it’s anti-abortion! Some people actually WANT to have babies.” 8 moths pregnant at the time, I was extra sensitive to the tenor of the comment. It was genuine wonder that anyone would choose to have a baby. I’m raising my child in a town peppered with people who think this way, and I think it’s time that I embrace my adulthood so I can effectively raise him to embrace his own one day.
When my sister and I set up our china cabinet in our little house, we joked that now we were REALLY adults. Neither a college degree nor anything else could so firmly ensconce us in the category as the setting up of our very own china cabinet. Perhaps it was true.
-Sarah is a mother of a beautiful almost one-year old boy, wife, friend, and an amazing baker. You can check out her Macarons at her Cottage Industry, Lark.