Today’s daily prompt: When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
I’m 53 years old and I’m not sure that I feel like a grown up to this day and to be quite honest I’m not sure that I ever will. I’ve had times that I’ve THOUGHT I felt grown up only to have a rude awakening later that I in fact wasn’t grown up.
A time that stands out in memory was when I was 18 years old and a freshmen in college. It was October 31… Halloween. My favorite “holiday” of them all. Always a fun time growing up and a day I have very happy memories of. My parents both loved Halloween and it was tradition for my dad to carve out a pumpkin the night before Halloween. This was back in the 60s when I can remember neighbors placing a carved jack-o-lantern in their living room window or on their front porch. The days before Pumpkin Masters® fancy carving kits and when jack-o-lanterns had one of two faces: a smiling face or a frowning face. Nothing fancy. Everything seemed so much simpler then. My two sisters and I and our neighborhood friends picked out our homemade costumes months before, usually in the summer before Halloween. On Halloween night, my mother usually made a quick dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and chili as she knew we would be in a hurry to hit the road to do our trick-or-treating. It was a given that my dad would be home early from the airport that night (he was a pilot) to take his three girls trick-or-treating (along with a ton of other neighborhood children). We always had a grand time and after trick-or-treating, I can still see my two sisters and me sitting on the living room floor dumping out our candy and sorting it into piles. Then the trading of candy began. My parents had a rule that we could not ingest any candy that was not in wrappers. It was a happy time of Halloween parties, candy, trick-or-treating, caramel apples, hay rides, and just general neighborhood fun!
So back to my freshman year in college on Halloween night. It was a Monday night in 1977. It was my first Halloween away from home and I felt an incredible homesickness. I wanted to be back at home and I missed the tradition of the jack-o-lantern carving. My roommate and I had gone out and bought 2 little pumpkins which we carved but having them in the window of our 7th floor dorm just wasn’t the same. I wanted to see children dressed up and out enjoying themselves trick-or-treating. I wanted to be back home enjoying Halloween night with my neighborhood friends. There was none of that. It had all been replaced with being stuck in a high-rise dorm and having chemistry homework. Blech! I clearly remember thinking for the very first time that this must be what it feels like to be “all grown up.” I didn’t like it. Not one bit. As far as I was concerned, the fun was all over.
There have been other times I’ve “felt” grown up. Some of these times were:
- the time I was in the 6th grade and convinced my mother to let me wear hose. I told her I was the ONLY girl in the 6th grade who wasn’t wearing them (okay… I exaggerated). It was the day of our Christmas party and 6th grade pictures were to be made that day. She
cavedcomplied and let me wear hose. And you guessed it. I was the only girl in the classroom with hose on that day. But I hadn’t planned ahead. You see, my mother was head room mother and she was at school that day. She was in my classroom doing her room mother duties during our Christmas party. She saw with her own eyes that every single girl had on white knee-high socks. Except me. Her daughter. The one wearing the hose. The only one. I had tried to pull the wool over her eyes but I had been caught red-handed. She never let me forget that day or live that one down. But I sure remember feeling all grown up that day. To this day, I laugh when I’m pulling on pantyhose thinking how much I despise wearing hose now versus how much I wanted to wear them then.
- when I had my first car date with a boy. I had no idea how much my parents were home worrying and why my father was pacing the floor when I got home (until I became a parent myself). My older sister had her first date that night too with her boyfriend which meant double worrying for my parents.
- when I had my first real kiss.
- when I graduated from college.
- when my father moved me into my apartment the week I was to start veterinary school. I cried when he left me there. It was my first apartment and I was to be responsible for paying my rent, my utilities. It was a scary thought and I was homesick before he ever got to the car.
- when I graduated from veterinary school and started practicing.
- my wedding day and the moment I said my wedding vows.
- when I first heard the words from my Ob/Gyn, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”
- when I gave birth to my first son.
- when my father became terminally ill with cancer. I sobbed the entire 45 minute ride home from the hospital the day we got his grave prognosis.
- when I gave birth to my second son.
- when my father took his last dying breath.
- when I found myself sitting in a therapist’s office because I wasn’t coping well with my father’s death. I felt I was being grown-up in admitting I needed help in dealing with my grief.
- when I quit my job to become a full-time stay-at-home mom.
- when my mother became terminally ill with cancer.
- when I was caregiving for my mother who eventually couldn’t toilet herself, bathe herself, feed herself or dress herself. I was helping her with all the things she had once helped ME with.
- the day of my mother’s funeral and when it hit me that I was an adult orphan.
What about you? When did you first feel like a grown up?