The Myth of the Grown Up

“Mommy, I want to be just like you when I growed up. Can I be big like you?”

“Well, someday you’ll be big,” I answer. “You’ll be all grown up and instead of going to school, you’ll go to work, just like mommy.”

“I want to be big now! Can I grow up now, Mommy?”

“No, sweetie. You’ve got plenty of time to be a grown up. Stay little for a while yet, okay?”

“I want to be big like you,” she whines, storming off into the giant mess of a playroom that is our living room. I smile and shake my head, and the moment passes.

But, truthfully? I still don’t feel like a grown up. I mean, sure. I have a career, a  mortgage and a family. All hallmarks of grown-upedness. But there are days when it all feels a bit preposterous. When I’m afraid a real grown up is going to come by and say, “go back to your mommy, little girl. You’re not big enough to be out here.”

Then I think back to when I was small. And to the times when my Dad took me down to his office, and introduced me to his coworkers. I remember how impossibly accomplished they seemed, and how badly I yearned to be one of them.

And to the nights when my parents got dressed up and went out, my mom standing tall in her perfumed white suit. I remember how beautiful she looked. And how badly I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

I wonder. Did they feel as much like imposters as I do now?

I’ll bet they did. They were a good ten years younger than I am, after all.

Now, of course, they’re in their 60s. My dad is retired (sort of), although he’s embarked on a new career. He’s always changing, becoming something new. They both are.

Do they feel grown up now?

Or do they still look around them and wonder, “how did I get here? Where am I going next?”

I think that maybe, if you’re doing it right, you never feel completely grown up. After all, if you’re always learning, and doing, and becoming new things, you’re still growing, right?

So, I have a new philosophy. I hope I never grow up. And I hope Tori doesn’t either.

My name is Amber, and I am proud to be a Toys R Us kid. Who wants to raid the toy store with me?




6 Comments on The Myth of the Grown Up

  1. Rebecca
    April 13, 2012 at 10:48 am (4 years ago)

    I could have written this post myself. I feel so much like I really need to do a lot more growing up…………….and I think I knew more when I was 23 than I do now :)

  2. Cluttered Brain
    April 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Me too! I wanna be a Toys R us kid too. Only know what I know now. And go on cruises a lot. And have time to write ALL day. And have somebody cook for me. And clean for me. So I have more time with kids.
    And read.
    And soak in the tub.
    Amber I’ve mmissed you! And I still LOVE your writing girlfriend! Keep writing!

  3. Missy @ Wonder, Friend
    April 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm (4 years ago)

    I think about this a lot. My parents were younger than I am when they had kids the age mine are (does that make ANY sense?!?). At the time, I assumed they knew what they were doing. I thought my parents were certainly grown-ups. But now I know the truth – they didn’t have a clue, and they muddled through life just like I am now! Kind of scary, kind of reassuring, all at the same time.

    Being a true grown up, whatever that is, would be awfully boring, I think. I’m with you – let’s hold on to some of the childishness, some of the mystery.

  4. Gail
    April 18, 2012 at 10:33 am (4 years ago)

    I’ll go to the toy store with you!

    There are days when I think I know nothing, and then I talk to girls in their early 20s who REALLY have no idea what is going on in life. So that makes me feel a little smarter.

  5. Venus
    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m right there with you! Show me the way to the playground! Especially since I’ve started working at home and “dressing up” is much more the exception than the norm, I consistently feel like I’m playing dress-up in my parents’ clothes.

    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:18 am (4 years ago)

      It’d be nice to be able to lounge in comfies all day. But growing up is for suckers anyway, right?


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