Being a grown up is hard. Bills. Bills. Stress. Lawns. Children. Boring job. Bills. Debt. Obligations. Money. Bills. Relationships. Blargh. Being a grownup is really a headache sometimes. Still, I am so glad I'm not a kid anymore.
This is how I kind of imagine life as a child.
Warm and snug in your watery home, suddenly you are abruptly (haha, that term is relative) pushed out of your cozy abode and thrown into a cold, loud, freakishly bright and bustling non-home. You're naked and instead of wrapping you up and getting you warm, these weird people handle you briskly and do a bunch of stuff to you including rubbing goop in your eyes and stretching you out of your cozy fetal position (never more aptly named than at this moment) to see how long you are and how much you weigh and they prick you and maybe in especially joyful situations there is some mild hysteria, crying, screaming, cheering, clapping, singing.... It's complete insanity and so much different than the quiet dark you've been used to for the past nine months, you wish you could go back to your warm, watery world... but you can't.
Things are pleasing to you, like looking at the ceiling fan. Round and round it goes, but wait! “I have an itch! But I don't know it's an itch because I don't know anything! Why does my skin feel this way! I don't even know what skin is called! Everything is so new and confusing! I feel uncomfortable! It's a burp but I don't know how to burp by myself!” You have absolutely no idea what anything is. Any feeling, any emotion, any twinge of hunger or sadness or loneliness is just something that you can't explain, and so you cry. All you can do is cry. And sometimes your mother cries right along with you and you have no idea why she's not making oogie googie sounds at you anymore, and maybe that's upsetting, or maybe it's not. Who knows. You don't know. You don't know anything.
Ok, now we're rolling. Like, literally, you can roll over. Maybe even sit up. And you have figured out a lot of the mysteries of your early life like that those faces you see every day are important people in your life. You think color is cool and toys are good to chew on, but sometimes you get this weird feeling.... it's in your mouth... and sometimes it gets really intense and you just don't know why your mouth feels so achey and horrible. It's as if there are little daggers trying to grow out of your gums (you don't know what daggers are. Or gums.) It hurts so much and all the familiar face that is Mommy does for you is stick out her lower lip and say a bunch of jibberish that includes the word “teething” a lot. You are sad and hurting. And totally helpless.
Walking! You're walking! You're walking along splendidly, when-- eff! Table corner! Right in the eye! A little crying and you recover and are at it again. Walk, walk, walk, TUMBLE SCRAPE BUMP CRY. Over and over and over again. For days! For weeks! So many injuries. So many tears. You fall down so much. You can't stop falling down. Nobody can make you stop falling down, you just have to practice and grow.
“THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG IS TERRIFYING AND EVERYBODY IS LAUGHING AT MY SOBS.”
Everything you want to do is not okay. No biting. No hitting. No, you can't wear only underwear and sunglasses to church. No, you can't take toys that other children are playing with. No, you can't go on the big kid playground. No, you can't swim without your floaties. No, no, no; You can't, you can't, you can't. However, you are really, really cute and everybody pretty much loves you. You may feel like Captain Independent, but despite that, you have no control over anything, even when your parents pretend that you do.
Siblings' school productions and sports events that you have to attend even though you don't want to, because you are “part of the family,” and because you aren't old enough to stay home alone or run away or rent your own apartment.
“Can I have a snack?”
“No, it's almost dinnertime.”
“But I'm hungry.”
“You can wait forty-five minutes until dinner.”
“But I'm starving!”
“You aren't starving. You don't need a snack, you can wait until dinner.”
You can't even eat when you feel hungry!
“Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?”
“No, you need to wait until the bathroom break it's in ten minutes.”
“But I really need to go.”
“You can hold it ten minutes.”
You can't even use the bathroom when you need to go!
You want to wear your purple shirt, but you can't because it's not clean and you might wash it yourself if you knew how, or if you could reach the knobs on the washer.
“Can I watch TV?”
“Can I have some gum?”
“Can I have a secret stash of chocolate in the freezer that I hide in the bathroom to eat so that I don't have to share with anybody else?”
All you want in the world is to get to school early so you can see that cute boy a few lockers down from yours who is always early to first period, but you are never early to school because your dad is chronically late and every morning you have to run into school and despite the hurrying you still arrive late to first period. You have so many tardies you're at risk of falling a letter grade, but there's nothing you can do about it because you don't get your drivers license for three more months.
You forget your lunch and have no money. Screwed.
Feeling like a legitimate adult when you accept your first non-cash-paying job at the ice cream walk-up window. Feeling like a loser kid when your mom has to drive you to work.
You would do anything for a cheeseburger and fries at any time of the day. You'd even pay for it with your own measly earnings. You get served salmon patties and California Medley. Frown.
This is how I look back on my pre-grownup years. (Well, not the baby parts. Those have been observed in my current life.) And then, after all those years of suffering, you are rewarded with more school or a job or possible Professional Drifter Status, still working at the ice cream window and living with your parents, but for awhile, the best thing in your life is that you get to go to the bathroom any time you want, without needing a bathroom pass. And then you know you've finally made it to adulthood.