Today, my little brother and I decided to take the pillows from our bedroom and use them as impromptu sleds. We slipped into the pillowcases and placed ourselves at the top of our staircase. We didn’t see stairs, however. We saw a tall, steep mountain covered in snow. With one small push we started gliding down the mountain, over every bump we held tight to our sled.
Also today, my little brother and I decided to put on a show. We wrote a script, made sock puppets and a backdrop for our set. We even drew up invitations: “You are cordially invited to the Baileys’ Spectacular Presentation at 6 pm in the Play Room”.
And also today, while reading “The Orphan and the Doll” by Tracy Friedman, I held tight to my own dolls hoping one of them would come to life and talk to me like the doll in the book did with the little orphaned girl (sure, I was not an orphan but still…) But as I lay in my room reading and fantasizing how bad my life could actually be, I heard a most terrible and saddening meow coming from outside my window. I peaked out to see a litter of kittens stranded in my neighbor’s back yard surrounded by a rafter of turkeys! Surely about to face imminent death by pecking, the kittens had to be saved! I jumped out of my bed and fantasy world, and ran to the rescue. A few jumps over low walls and fences and I was looking at my bedroom window from the turkey’s side. Armed with a stick in hand, I swatted at the feathered giants while collecting all the kittens. I ran back into my yard, angry at these villainous neighbors for nearly allowing such a massacre.
But, let’s let the truth be told: none of this happened today. In fact, it all happened such a long time ago. I am now nearly at my first anniversary of my 29th birthday, and my little brother is now bigger than me by half a foot (ok, maybe even more- I don’t understand where my short genes came from). My question is, when did we grow up? One day we really are playing and fantasizing, and then next thing you know, you cringe because the electric bill shows up in the mail again (didn’t we just pay them??)
Sometimes I don’t realize that I am a grown up, though. Example: when I am out shopping and I see teenagers, I just assume they see a teenager too. Then when they almost bump into me and say, “I’m sorry, ma’am” I realize a most dreadful truth: I am antique. These are the moments I like to step back and really look at my life. When I get home, I click my garage door opener and pull my SUV into the garage filled with bikes and footballs and tools. I get the dreaded electric bill out of the mailbox and I even find the newspaper from this morning. Neither are for my dad. They are both for me. I kindly pass the bill on to my husband (how nice it is to have him deal with the bill paying portion of life). The newspaper is for me, however. I want to know if there is any progress on that bridge being built down town, because that’s a lot of tax payers time and money being spent – yikes! Did I just say that? How antique of me!
Once in the house, I realize there is so much to do: dishes need to be washed, laundry needs to be done, dinner needs to be cooked, pets want attention, kids need some serious tending to. The worst part of all this is that no one is paying me to do jack! This isn’t a babysitting gig, or a set of chores laid out by my mom. This is my life. I am the one that creates the chore list for the boys who glare at me when I tap my finger on the invisible watch on my wrist.
So let me ask this again, when did we grow up? When did I stop sliding down the stairs, stop putting on puppet shows, and stop reading books about heroic dolls that brought out the hero in me too? When did I accept a life of responsibilities and become my own mother and father rolled into one?
What about you? When did you grow up?
I think today I will resort to being a child again. I am going to the park, I am playing with my cats, and I will send my little brother a script that we will act out. I might even make invitations. I will do all this today, but only after I do all my antique, grown up things, after all, the cable bill came in today.