I remember being a teenager and thinking how great life would be as a grown-up. I couldn’t waiting until I turned 18, then 21. Ha ha! Little did I know that being grown had very little to do with age. By twenty-one I was living in my own apartment, but I couldn’t say I actually felt grown up. That feeling came at different times and under different circumstances in my life. I’m sure you experienced the same.
Here are a few of my grown up defining moments.
I would like to say I felt all grown up when my first son was born. Actually, what I felt was sheer terror. My mother came and stayed with me and my husband the first week I was home with my son, and I remember feeling panicked when it was time for her to go home. My mother had raised four children. I had raised none! Could I handle the pressure of taking care of a helpless baby? Well, eventually through trial and error I managed to raise my son and two more children. But the defining grown up moment came for me one night when my six week old baby woke up for his 2:00 AM feeding. I feed him but he had no interest in going back to sleep. He looked up at me with his beautiful brown eyes with a look of pure contentment. I knew he trusted me and loved me with all the knowledge and understanding of whatever that meant at six weeks old and I knew I would move heaven and earth to protect, care for, and love him. That was one defining grown up moment.
I was in my late thirties when I bought my first house. I actually had my house built. But it wasn’t the process of working with the contractors to pick out carpet colors and vinyl flooring or even meeting with a loan officer at the bank to secure the loan for the house, it was making the mortgage payments that proved to be another defining grown up moment for me.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve had many more grown up realizations: Recognizing that life is too short to hold grudges, allowing my children to live life on their own terms without butting in and only offering advice when asked (but remembering I was their age once too), valuing family connections and true friendships, to name a few.
So you see, feeling like a grown up is not a one-time thing. It’s a constant evolution. Maybe that’s why I’m happy where I am in my life right now. I’ve come to realize the value in the process of continuing to grow.