Thursday, September 10, 2015

On Being a Grown Up

Dear Em,
You were taking a bath when you proudly exclaimed, "I am a grown up." I smiled at you lovingly, feeling that time was spinning out of control & wishing that it would slow down. "Well, you're a big girl, but you're not a grown up," I corrected. "No, Mommy, really. I AM a grown up," you said with big, eager eyes.

"Well, are you 18 yet?" "No." "Do you have a job? Do you pay for your home & your food & your clothes?" "No." "Do you prepare yourself meals? Do you do your own laundry?" "No." "Well, I'm sorry, sweet heart, but you're not a grown up. Being a grown up means being responsible for yourself, providing for yourself, & taking care of yourself."

"But I have to be a grown up!!" Your eyes filled with tears, & you began crying.

"Sweet Pea, why do you want to grow up so quickly? Being a kid is one of the most fun things in life, & once you're not a kid anymore, you never get to be a kid again. You should enjoy being able to play instead of going to work. Enjoy learning & growing & having fun. I wish I could be a kid again. Why are you in such a rush to grow up?" I soothingly stroked your hair.

"I just have to be a grown up, because you have to be a grown up to have a baby. I REALLY want a baby."

I didn't realize it was possible for my heart to break at the very same time every part of my body was struggling not to laugh out loud. Somehow I kept a straight face as I stroked your hair some more. I reminded you that taking care of a baby is wonderful but it's also A LOT of hard work. I asked you once again not to rush the growing up process.

I mean, I know what it feels like to long for a child of your own...just not quite at such a young age. Right now, you want to have at least 26 kids. You plan to have at least two sets of twins & one set of triplets. Maybe this is my fault. Maybe if we had given you a brother or a sister you would know that babies are not all fun & games. Maybe you wouldn't be longing to have one of your own right now.

A month after we had this conversation, your best friend Savanna had come over. The two of you were playing dress up. You were a mom with three jobs & tons of kids. You had asked Savanna if she would babysit your kids while you went out. Savanna was in the middle of playing. "I don't really want to babysit now. Maybe I'll babysit another time."

You were perplexed. Your Nonnie is ALWAYS willing to babysit whenever the two of you play together. I don't think you've ever run into a babysitting problem before. "You said you won't take care of my kids, but I need someone to watch them!" Savanna simply replied, "I said I would watch them some day, but I'm busy today. There's a difference." You were exasperated. "So, I have all of these kids & no one to watch them?!!"

Exactly! Maybe now you'll want to wait a little while before you become a grown up?

I love you so,

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