the grownups ain’t coming


I was having a chat with a friend the other day about being vs. feeling like a grownup. I have realized something crazy lately, mostly since becoming a parent, but also since turning 30: the big secret of being an adult is that almost no one actually feels like one a lot of the time. That and the fact that the only major perk of being an adult is getting to have ice cream or popcorn for dinner if you want to. But mostly the thing about not feeling like a real grownup.

At least I don’t. I find myself, 30 years old, mother of twin three year olds, married, homeowner, scheduler of important things, manager of some serious medical issues, meal planner, writer, friend…and feeling like I’m playing house. I look around at all my responsibilities, which I usually handle just fine, and often wonder, “Who the heck decided I could handle all of this?” It’s like I’m waiting for the real grownups to show up and take charge, only to realize, the grownups ain’t coming. The grownups are us.

I’ve even realized that I seem to think of “adulting” like others might think of playing video games: I’m earning or losing points along the way, and occasionally leveling up. Remembering to pay a bill: points. Actually calling and talking to the insurer or medical supply guy or specialty nurse about something: points. Doing all the steps of my skincare routine for more than three days in a row: points. Exercising, even with kids underfoot: points. Eating the recommended servings of vegetables: points. Remembering the paperwork for the kid thing: points. Not getting sunburned or allowing my kids to get sunburned on the beach vacation: points. Not letting the clothes get funky in the washing machine before switching them to the dryer: points. Hosting actual adult parties: points.

Getting married? Leveled up. Buying a house? Leveled up. Moving halfway across the country? Leveled up. Dealing with loss? Leveled up. Facing my own mortality in a major way? Leveled up. Becoming a parent? Leveled up. Twins? Leveled way up. Having a kid with a disability? Leveled up. Managing my own chronic health issues? Leveled up. Realizing what I do or DON’T want to do with my life? Leveled up.

It’s like I think that if I collect enough points or get to a final level, I’ll stop feeling like I’m pretending at being a grownup and actually feel like an adult. This probably makes me a stereotype of a Millennial, but what can I say, I graduated high school in 2003. My generation allegedly feels like adolescents forever. Guilty as charged. The thing that really lets me know that I’m a grownup is that I now know it doesn’t matter if I feel like an imposter, because I still gotta get shit done. It turns out being a grownup is a lot like being brave: it’s about feeling one way but doing the damn thing anyway. Brave people are still scared. Real grownups still feel like kids playing house a lot of the time. You just don’t tell anyone you’re secretly earning merit badges in your head and move along your merry little way.

4 years with Tinycat, and glad he’s still with us

Four years ago today, we were working in our downtown garden when a homeless friend named Justin walked up holding an impossibly tiny, impossibly flea-covered kitten. “I just found him,” he said, “and I can’t take care of him and don’t want him to be a hobo cat. Can you take him?” I took one look at the tiny furball and knew I had to help him find a home.

I took him home, gave him a bath, picked hundreds of fleas off of him, and promptly fell in love.  I didn’t want to fall in love, though. We called him Tinycat because we weren’t giving him a name because we were. not. keeping. him. That resolve lasted until the night before he was supposed to go to a new home, and Jon and I both cried and realized we couldn’t bear to part with him.

By the end of that summer, I got pregnant and promptly began spending a lot of time in bed. Tinycat was always by my side. He was my buddy through a difficult pregnancy, and even after the girls were born, he has been amazing with them, always choosing to be near them, allowing them to love him, however rough, and gently training them in how to handle him.

Over the last few months, Tiny has been very sick. It started as a bladder infection, but then either nausea or just distaste for his prescription bladder food caused him to just stop eating. He had been fairly obese, but then he suddenly got scary-skinny, and super sick. He had starved himself into liver failure. Apparently fatty liver syndrome is common when fat cats lose a lot of weight suddenly. At one point, I was pretty sure he was going to die. For the last two months he’s been getting medications and syringe feedings, and it’s been rough on all of us. Now he’s finally starting to gain weight, eat a little food (but still refusing the prescription bladder food), and even act like his old playful, affectionate self again. It’s been like watching him rise from the dead. It finally feels like he’s actually decided he wants to live, and we are so happy.


Happy fourth anniversary, Tinycat. I’m glad you won over this family of “dog people.” Don’t tell Bessie and Olive, but you’re my favorite. Even when you’re being The Worst.

mothers and daughters

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My friend Mary Evelyn of What Do You Do Dear recently welcomed her second child and first daughter into the world, baby Frances Louise. Mary Evelyn is one of my favorite bloggers– her voice is thoughtful and grace-full, she has a great sense of humor, and her little family is just the cutest– so I was thrilled to contribute a guest post to give her some bonding time with sweet Franny Lou and welcome her to the wonderful world of mothers and daughters. Go check out my post, in which I reveal some Twin Girl Mom secrets, and be sure to read some other stuff on her site, too. I promise you’ll love her as much as I do!

 

choosing not to wear leggings and yoga pants? or: pockets are the key to lust prevention

In response to this

I can’t really say I was ever around friends and had a husband remark upon his wife’s body to me, but if I were ever around a couple and the husband smacked his wife’s booty and told her she looked hot in her yoga pants, as our toddlers played nearby, as I examined the stain on the knee of my own leggings and wondered if it was snot or what, exactly, I would think, “Good for them. They’re adorable.” And maybe also a little bit of, “Gag, get a room, you two.”

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epic stories

“Etta fall down. At da zoo. Hurt knees. Hurt hands. Etta cry.” It happened in October, but she still tells me this story of her epic zoo fall at least once a day.

“Claire Bear fall down. At da wi-berry. I bonked my head on a shelf. I screamed. Then Mama had me.” This fall at the library, too, happened in October. This story, as well, is told as frequently and reverently as a great epic from the oral tradition, with all the solemnity a toddler can muster.

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Moments before the Great Library Fall of October 2014.

Usually we sigh, the way we all tend to do when someone tells us something we’ve heard before a hundred times, and say something like, “I know baby, you fell down and hurt yourself, but that was weeks ago, and you’re ok now! Your owies are all gone!” The repetition seems to us a little silly– why keep telling the story of such little hurts? Childhood is practically made of skinned hands and knees, of knots on foreheads and bruises that fade slowly, like sunsets that last weeks.

But to our girls, they are the biggest falls they’ve had yet. Their most significant injuries. Big events in the life of small people who lead otherwise routine little lives. To them, they are big stories worth telling.

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thoughts on THIRTY

Today, I am THIRTY!

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I know for a lot of folks, this is a big milestone birthday, possibly even a thing to dread or skip entirely in favor of being 29 forever, but to me, it’s just a reason to celebrate. Since my intense brush with my own mortality at age 27, every birthday afterward feels like a gift. I’m happy to be here, happy to be relatively healthy, happy to think of all the ways I’ve grown and changed to get to this point.  Continue reading