Ah…being a grownup! I remember when I was a little girl and I thought that teenagers were cool. Cooler than cool. We were living in a dinky little travel trailer in a dinky little trailer park in Anchorage – on Arctic Boulevard. Nothing cool ever happens on Arctic Boulevard, I thought…and then my parents hired Sandra Graham to babysit us while she and my father went hunting for A Homestead. Sandra Graham was cool. Sandra Graham was about 17. I remember her boyfriend spending a lot of time at our trailer. As a parent myself now…there is now way in hell that I would ever let a hormonal 17 year old girl babysit my children for an entire weekend. Somehow, though, we survived the experience.
Then there was Roger Graham. Now, the six-year-old me thought, he was cool. Roger was Sandra’s brother. Looking back now, what Roger Graham really was…was a giant, sadistic dickhead. He liked to catch dragonflies and let them land in my baby sister’s gossamer white-blonde hair and then laugh his hormonal teenage ass off while my sister had hysterics…the result of which is that now she’s still pathologically afraid of flying bugs, as am I. Thank you, Roger…you sadistic little bastard.
|My baby sister Lisa
Despite the lovely Graham teens, I still wanted to be A Grownup. I thought, “When I’m a grownup, everything will be great. I wanted to be A Grownup. In life’s twisty turning and wholly ironic manner, however, my growing up took a lot longer than I suspect it does for most people.
In fact, when I grew up wasn’t until I hit around thirty…and it took a whole lot of work. A lot lot lot lot lot of work…mostly with a series of shrinks. Starting around thirty, though…life took on a whole new meaning.
For one thing, at thirty I was two years married to a wonderful man and we had a beautiful daughter. Then at thirty-four, we had a wonderful son. I continued to grow as an adult, though the experiences were sometimes incredibly painful (when my father in law died)…but I made it nonetheless. As a Grownup, I have learned to relish every day that I’m alive. I learned that my daughter is perfect just as she is, who she is, and anyone who says otherwise can leave now. I learned that my expectations cannot be foisted on my children, because they have their own choices to make, just as I did. On the whole…being a Grownup is pretty alright. Not like I thought it would be when I was six year old me…but I like the me I am today. When I grew up, I knew that my six year old self was wrong…the future is the undiscovered country and trying to predict it is both pointless and frustrating…so the me I am now has learned to just take it as it comes.