Friday, October 19, 2007

The sounds of breaking glass

At what point does a person feel like an actual honest-to-goodness grown up? Is it when one graduates from high school or college? Is it when one gets a job, gets married, or becomes a parent? When does that transformation occur?

Because I have to say that there are still times when I do not feel like a Real Card Carrying Adult. There are on occasions that something will occur and I'll look around for someone else to handle it. Because me? I'm definitely not ready for it. This is a job for a real grown up, not me. This occurs frequently. I'll say to myself, "I am not qualified to do this." or "I am just a kid pretending to be an adult."

Like the time Graceful was almost two and she face-planted on a sidewalk and, as we heard her forehead hit the bricks, there was a moment when Pete and I were almost afraid to pick her up and and look at the damage. (She was fine.)

Or the time that a hurricane roared through town and, even though we live at the top of a hill, we had a river of water in our basement and it was an overwhelming mess.

Or the times -- yes, in the plural -- that a toilet overflowed and there was, um, dirty water every-fucking-where.

All those times, we really wanted a real adult to come in and deal with the situation. Take control. Make things right. Because we are not actual adults who are qualified to deal with this. We're just pretenders, even as we approach middle age.

When one is a child, our parents swoop in with their Super Adult capes and they save the day. A younger brother flushes an apple down the toilet, causing a Major Plumbing Incident? Mom or Dad will fix it! The cat vomits all over the new living room rug? Call Mom or Dad! Someone drops a bottle of ketchup and it shatters all over the place? That's a job for Mom or Dad!

As a child I knew my parents could handle any situation. They were wise and competent. It never occurred to me to think otherwise. Now I realize that at times they felt completely unprepared for this gig call Adulthood.

Now, for yesterday...

Graceful and her three friends were in the basement rec room. We have a lava lamp in there. Or, should I say, we HAD a lava lamp down there.

I heard a crash and four third graders said, "Uh oh." Then silence, while they considered the ramifications of what had just occurred. They came upstairs -- scared and pale -- and confessed. Luckily, no one was hurt. Thank goodness for that, because there's glass and wax and lava liquid all over the place.

After I sternly reminded the girls that they should not have been messing with anything breakable, I realized that SOMEONE was going to have to clean up the mess. Luckily, there were two SOMEONES in the house at the time, so I gathered Mr. Someone and we went downstairs to assess the damage.

Oh shit.

Someone's going to have to take care of this.

13 comments:

blackbird said...

I think I became a grown-up when my dad died.
I had 2.4 children then...

Lisa@Take90West said...

I'm like you, I still look for the grown up during the tough times. And I hate to clean up spills and messes of anytime.
I am not the grown up that says 'oh honey, it's okay...it was an accident.'
Oh no. Not that kind of grown up at all.
So maybe, I'm not really the grown up yet!

Flutterby said...

Well there have been a few times that I have just walked off and said "I am NOT THE MOM ANYMORE." Then told hub it was his turn. And went and took a nice long nap. And of course... when I woke up... I was still the mom. I have been *the mom* since I was 13 years old. Someone had to do it.

alison said...

I still want someone to deal with spiders for me.

rivergirlie said...

i'm the youngest of 3 sisters so i always assumer everyone knows better than me (they usually do)

Sue said...

I can so relate. I make my husband be the grown up. I can handle the finances and making money and all of that kind of responsibility. But scary things, like toilets and bugs and scary noises? All him.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

When I had a vomit after rolling down a hill - also after I had a swing. I was a grown up physically anyway. Mentally, well, it seems to kick in when I need to be one. When someone elses vomit needs to be cleaned.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

Crash followed by Uh-oh. Hmmm, not the sound you want to hear is it.

Suzanne said...

I've been a grown up since I was about 13, I think.

I like to tell myself it's a Capricorn thing, but I also know it's because both of my parents were so busy being children that I had to look out for myself.

The problem is I became so self-reliant and self-contained that it's sometimes gets difficult to let anyone else in to help. Or admit when I might need help.

It would really be nice to have someone else to help with the icky stuff, though. Cleaning up the flooded basement last winter all myself was certainly no fun at all...

countrymouse said...

First time I hosted Thanksgiving dinner--I felt like a little girl playing tea party.

When I hurt my arm a couple months ago--total grown-up mode. Made sure youngest was taken care of and not scared before worrying about me. Such a relief to find I can be a grown-up when necessary : )

Girl--I *love* reading your blog, but you're so darn prolific! I can't quite keep pace like I'd like to : ) I love how understated and honest you are--not contrived at all.

MizMell said...

Don't fret too much Jen. Maybe Santa Clause will bring you a new lava lamp.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

MizMell: Santa Claus has been informed in no uncertain terms that he is NOT to bring another lava lamp into this house. Given that we're STILL cleaning up glass two days after the event, I think he'll listen.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Countrymouse: THANK YOU so much for your kind comments. They've made my day.