I love being a grown-up.
As I look back on this thought I can’t help but think - lady, what are you talking about?
That, of course, is a fair question. Especially if you take into account that I am commonly known for saying, ‘I had no idea how good life was when I was 12.’
Yes, 12 was a good year for me. Remember the days of being excited to get mail? Or wondering what your BFF would be wearing tomorrow and if the two of you should match?
Now, keep in mind, back in the day coordinating with said BFF required more planning. We did not have text, e-mail or cell phone. Our telephones were attached to a cord, which was plugged into the wall. If you did not think ahead (while at school) you would have to make a phone call. And…if you lived in our house that phone call would have to happen before 8 p.m. and the phone, well it was in the center of our house.
So, yes, I spent many a night maneuvering and weaving the phone through the railing of our stair well in an effort to get as far up the stairs as possible. I was 12, I wanted some privacy.
The great thing about getting older, is that you really do get wiser.
Uuugghh, yes… I just wrote that.
It makes me shudder a bit. I hate when the words of my elders slip through my lips (or finger tips). The good news is, as I embrace my wisdom and enlightenment I am truly learning to appreciate theirs as well.
Growing up I had a tight group of friends. We all stayed tight well into our post college years and as we navigated out into the big cruel world, well, it became a bit scary.
People move, children are born and schedules become hectic. I still recall one conversation with one of my girlfriends as we discussed how hard it was to make real friends as a ‘grown-up.’ The two of us, who were childless at the time, envied our friends with children. Children seemed to naturally somehow place you on the ‘in’ with a new social group, who then became friends.
Needless to say, when my children were born I did get a bit excited at the notion of making friends with other mommies and watching our children ‘grow-up’ together.
Yes, I have a knack for romanticizing much of my life and envisioning it playing out like a popular sitcom. This of course would be the downside of growing up in the day and age of good script writing and not ‘reality television.’
As my children grew and blossomed, friendships did come as a result. But if I am truly being honest I did not feel a true connection to many of these ‘friends.’ In a social setting I would always refer to them as ‘friends.’ And if any of them were in need of anything, I would jump at the opportunity to help them. With that said, they were not truly ‘friends’ like I had become accustomed to growing up.
Somewhere along the line of the past few years, I stopped searching for friends in the social circle of my children. First I started just living true to myself, my beliefs and focused on being the best example of a person I could be for my children. Then I started truly listening to the words of others and I sort of opened up a bit. I’m a guarded (somewhat jaded) person, so trust for me does not come easy. Somewhere, somehow though I realized it was not the other person’s problem that I had ‘issues.’ Most importantly I just started being honest with myself and others.
It’s pretty simple, really. If a person does not accept who and how you are in your most honest of moments, well then, that is not a good fit. This does not mean that either person is bad, it just means the fit is not right.
So what’s so great about being a grown-up? Well, all of it.
The freedom of no longer caring if I stand among the ‘it’ mommies at school or am invited to ‘the’ party of the year. The connection of making friends because of who I am as a person, not because of my children. The balance of being a great parent and a valued friend.
This all snuck up on me one night as I laid down to go to bed, as I left one final thought for my friends on my Facebook page. This comment then erupted into a thread of tangents and side conversations via Facebook, e-mail and text (and yes, it was after 8 p.m.).
As I placed my head on the pillow, a smile crept across my face. I was 12 again and grateful for ‘true’ friends. The best part, is that now as a grown-up I don’t worry about the drama. I’ve picked the right people and if we have differences (which we do) we handle them mano a mano.
Now, as grown-up friends we gather not because our kids play together on the playground but because we value each other. The beauty of this is our diversity of friendship then extends the ‘friend circle’ of our children.
So be it over a red solo cup, glass of wine or a simple coffee date, making time for ourselves is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Teaching balance to our children is just as critical as teaching good manners.
How do I know this? Well, it’s just one of the many amazing things you come to learn as a ‘grown-up.’
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.