“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?