Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mother Cannot Guide You Now You're On Your Own

Okay, reader-participation time:

Was there one specific moment when you realized "I'm not a kid any more?" Was there a moment when you knew you were irrevocably an adult? Were they the same moment?

38 Comments:

Blogger tut-tut said...

Hmm. I'll have to think on that. I know it was a sad moment, it was summer, it was in Vermont. I had two digits in my age. Will get back on exact circumstance if it doesn't keep itself slightly out of my mental grasp. And no, only the notion that wasn't a child any more, not the adult part attached.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Scott Peterson said...

When I got socks as one of my Christmas presents and instead of being disappointed or annoyed, thought, "oh, hey, cool."

1:05 PM  
Blogger lisa i said...

I was 19 & living on my own. Came home from work & had no lights, that's when I realized the electric company actually expected to be paid and my father wasn't writing a check every month to keep the lights on.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

My parents were going on a trip that required them to drive through possible bad weather and in case they had trouble they told me where their will and advanced directives were, what they wanted done to their remains and what to include in their funerals. As the oldest child I knew eventually these decisions would fall on my shoulders but it was still sobering. I was 28 at the time but it really hit home that I was an adult. I guess it was better that it hit then so I felt a like an adult a year later when my first child was born.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Garth Wolkoff said...

Realized I wanted to stay home with my daughter and watch Dinosaur Train instead of going out drinking with friends.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Amy G. said...

I suppose I was legally still a minor, but it was the night that my mother came into my bedroom, sat on my bed, and told me that she and my father were separating and divorcing. She told me I would have to take on a great deal of the household responsibilities since she'd be working. Worst was that she advised me to not tell anyone and not let my grades or behavior drop off, so that we would not look like a broken family. I didn't even tell my best friend.

*sigh* I suppose I was more grown up when I went a thousand miles away to college, but in terms of having to grow up literally overnight, that was it. I knew that night my happy childhood was over, and I was right.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Valerie said...

When my father and mother died within months of each other. I don't have kids, so I didn't have to really BE a grownup in my own mind before that. I could still be the youngest (my brother is older than I) and still feel I had a soft place to land if necessary, though of course that was silly, with both parents elderly and in poor health. Suddenly, they were gone and *I* was one of the senior generation. I had to make the calls and decisions (with my brother's help, of course) to close out the books on their lives and had to face that there was nowhere to go, any longer, for the advice and the unconditional listening ear that parents provide. Sobering. Scary. Kinda wish I'd made myself think in those terms years ago so I'd have been used to it already by then.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 20 and very newly married. Except for a brief stint at a local college, I had always lived with my parents.
About four days after we returned from our honeymoon, I walked into our cute little house and realized that everything was just as my young husband and I had left it, with dirty dishes and laundry piling up everywhere...My mother was not there to patiently do the chores for me. Welcome to real life!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Sara J. Henry said...

I'm not a kid anymore?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Moran said...

Thought I had a good one, then I read all these ... Mine can't compare, but here goes:

I was a busboy at Big Boy's, between high school and college, and one day I'm cleaning a booth and a lady and her daughter are walking by me to the cashier. The lady says to her daughter, "Let the man through, dear." And I'm like, "Who? Me?"

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing in a store in my new state, 2,000 miles from home and realizing that if I didn't actually buy food, I wasn't going to have any to eat.

4:56 PM  
OpenID snarkeling said...

I'd love to say when I moved to the big city, or when I got my first office job, but really it was when I was 21 and unexpectedly pregnant and realized that the survival of another human being was dependent on my flaky, dysfunctional ass. Honestly, it probably saved my life.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

You're not a kid anymore: Wrapping Christmas presents with my mom and she tells me to write on the tag that they are "from Santa."
???WTF???? (8 years old)

You're an adult now: When my mother married her abuser-husband and moved across the country without me, leaving me to finish high school on my own. I was glad to see HIM go, not so glad to see HER go too. (16 or 17 years old)

7:05 PM  
Anonymous LM said...

It was the day my parents threw me out of the house and disowned me.
They couldn't accept the fact that I was in my 20s, established in my career and had a fiance. They just couldn't relinquish their control of me. So, as crazy as it sounds, rather than be forced to share me with my future husband (and the rest of the world) they thought it wiser to cut ties with me entirely.
Of course, as narcissists do, they tried to make me believe it was actually my decision to leave. Yes, I knew if I didn't take that first big step my life would never truly be mine. Still, it didn't stun/shock/hurt any less when my father said, "If you leave, don't come back." In that moment, I knew I would never be a kid - their kid - again. It's 18 years later, and I haven't set foot in that house since. I'm probably better off for it, but it left quite a scar.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Megan Alton said...

I'm pretty sure filing my own taxes had something to do with it.

9:01 PM  
Blogger CameoRoze said...

I don't recall the moment I knew I wasn't a kid, but I definitely know when I became an adult ... or, a woman. I was 30 years old.

I was separated from my first husband. I had the two babies, 1 yr and 3 yrs respectively. My mom called me on the phone and offered to have me move to their hometown and help me find a full time job. She ran a daycare center and would have my kids there during the day. She and Dad didn't like the idea of me living in public housing and only having a part time job.

I said no, that I needed to keep some kind of stability. She said, "Well, it doesn't look to me like you HAVE much stability."

I replied, "That's why I have to keep what little I have. I made this mess. I need to find my way out of it."

She wasn't happy. But I knew that I turned a corner that day.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Melodee said...

Probably when I had to call the hospice nurse when my dad died, then planned his funeral. I'm not sure, though. I always felt like an adult in a way.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

The first time I stayed over night at a boys house and didn't have to tell anywhere where I was or what I was doing. I think I was 22 (I had an overprotective roommate in college).

11:33 PM  
Blogger Shinny said...

I am almost 46, have a 19 year old and a 5 year old and still get that kick in the head that "hey, I am a freaking adult! This sucks!" It sometimes is traumatic but most times I just stop and think,"How did that happen?" One of my best friends from high school and I get together for a week every summer and even though we both have kids, are married, own homes, have real jobs we still will look at each other and sometimes at the very same time ask each other, "When did we become our parents?" ;) So far not a bad thing, but shocking when I stop and think about it.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

While I never really felt like a kid when I was one for various reasons that I'll spare you at the moment, I also don't necessarily feel like an adult now. So perhaps it hasn't happened yet to me.

Fascinating question! I love the answers. Now I want to know yours, if you care to share it with us, that is. :)

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I really think it was the day I signed the promissory note for my student loans. That's when I was like "oh, s**t, this is all on me!"

8:28 AM  
Blogger Leta said...

I spent years feeling like "not a grown up," so I assumed that I would never feel like one. But after my Mom died, there it was. Adulthood.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling the people in my mom's phone book to let them know she had died.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

In labour and getting ready to leave for the hospital to give birth to my first-born I had the thought "I'm not sure if I'm ready to be a mother", followed by the speedy realisation that it was just a little late to be having that sort of thought!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 20ish, standing in line at McDonalds and was asked, "do you want fries with that mam'? End of childhood.

Adulthood came six short years later as I stood at my Father's bed when he took his last breath. He was a too young 58.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

For me, it was probably that moment when, aged 23 and recently returned from our honeymoon, my husband and I bought our very first brand-new car. It was a Toyota Tercel and it wasn't even $10K, but still, writing the check for the down payment - I believe we put down $3500 - was the single largest check we'd ever written, it was from our new joint account with my new married name, and no one parental had been around to advise us on the purchasing, financing etc. That was the moment I turned to my husband and said "Whoa, we're grown ups!"

Of course the feeling can pass - I am forever reminded of exactly how grown up I truly am whenever I get excited about the thought of purchasing a new major appliance, or even something as relatively small as a vacuum cleaner. That and when I don't understand why kids today listen to *that* music or wear *those* clothes....

3:34 PM  
Blogger Mama Bear said...

I realized I wasn't a kid anymore when I was 14. That's when my Dad took my recently deceased mother's name off the family checking account and put my name on it so I could shop for the family groceries.

I think I finally realized I was an adult when I was 23 and successfully negotiated the purchase of my first home. That first night alone in my very own home was a landmark moment.

BTW - Love your challenge questions, and really enjoy reading the responses!

10:37 PM  
Blogger AndyEM said...

Being 21 years old in the military and getting a Secret security clearance to work on weapons tests at one of the Army's desert proving grounds.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous pamelajk said...

When I realized I could buy whatever laundry detergent I wanted and not what my Mom usually bought. A few months later I bought her brand again. It worked better! I think I was 24.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

In college, in my early twenties, my boyfriend and I watched the movie Juno at the recommendation of my high school sister. I had no idea what anyone in that movie was talking about. They'd use some slang word, and we would look at each other asking, "What does that even mean?" It was then that I realized how quickly we had become "old".

9:09 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Like Valerie above, it was when my parents died in 1995. I was already in my thirties, married, with one child, but I always knew they had my back. My father died unexpectedly while my mother was fighting cancer. Then she died six months later. Even though I was all grown up and living my own life, I felt like an orphan.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous SusannahS said...

Childhood ended when I was 9 and my manic depressive (bipolar) mother left her 3rd husband and moved the two of us to another city, away from her parents and family who had always been our support system(not that I knew that at the time). I still have my first Betty Crocker cookbook for children and I still make a mean oven-fried chicken and biscuits with peaches.

Adulthood came when I was 25 and I sat in the hospital room holding my grandmother's hand as the medical staff disconnected the respirator. My uncle had asked for my thoughts on the matter and it was at that moment that I realized I was a grown up and that my voice mattered, at least to my family.

PS-I really wanted to say that Adulthood came the year that I 'graduated' from the Children's Table to the Adult Table at Thanksgiving, but I had several younger cousins who violently protested(I was bitten on the leg!), so that was the end of Table Segregation.

10:43 AM  
Blogger StevenIre said...

Reports of my maturity have been greatly exaggerated and adding year after year only seems to exacerbate the problem. Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore were in movies together. She started off playing his granddaughter. In later years she played or would have played in succession, his wife and then later, no doubt in her mind if he had lived, his mother. My biological age is Lillian Gish to my taking-mature-responsibility-age Lionel Barrymore. In other words, my age advances while my adultness stays the same or even reverts to earlier stages.

2:52 AM  
Blogger koop dedoo said...

When I realized I wasn't a kid anymore: I was 9. It was a Friday night, my parents were in a bowling league. My 11 year old brother got dropped off by a neighbor from football practice. This was routine, we were old enough to stay alone (in 1970). After he bathed, he threw up blood into the bathtub. I heard the noise, went to check on him. I had to call the bowling alley and have one of my parents paged (I think I picked Dad).
When I realized I was an adult: Living in my own apartment at about 26, I changed jobs. The salary at the new job was more than the old job, but the payroll accounting system was different. I think I worked 3 weeks before getting a paycheck. I ate ketchup sandwiches for dinner a few times that third week because I had no money left for food.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realized I was not a child anymore when at 9 years old looking after my 7 year old sister (latch key kids of the 70's) and my dad did not come home by dark because he was stuck in a snowstorm and I called my mom at work. She came to the phone and said why are you calling me..are you dead? is your sister dead? when I said no but we were hungry (we weren't allowed to turn on anything) and she said stop bothering me at work if no one is dead and hung up. I never called her at work ever again and I knew I could only rely on myself from then on. I became an adult when I had my son at 20 years old and had already been relying on myself since 17, now he would be relying only on me. You grow up fast when you have to.
brandi

8:42 PM  
Blogger The Write Girl said...

I have never felt like an actual grown up, even though I have children who are 17, 19 and 21. Sure, I'm responsible, pay my bills, work hard at my marriage and career and all, but even at age 45, I forget I'm not 27. I will always feel 27, or 8, because I think those two ages were the happiest in my life for me.

4:13 PM  
Blogger montena said...

I had fed, bathed and put to bed two small toddlers, showered, dressed, made a casserole, ironed mine outfit and my husband's in preparation for the best party of the year... an Adult Family Post-Christmas party. My sitter, who was an hour and a half late, is dropped off by her parents and is accompanied by her cousin. The cousin immediately threw up hot pink chunks of vomit ALL over my new burgundy carpet. The girls causally confess that she had been throwing up in the car from Iowa to Mpls. and that was actually why they were so late. In disbelief, I stood there in my heels and black velvet skirt, holding my casserole, way late for the party well underway with an angry husband waiting outside in the running car. I honestly looked around for the adult who was responsible to clean up this disgusting germ filled disaster and to care for this sick young girl. I had a party to go to after all! I made a casserole for God's sake! What if it makes me throw up too. urgh! Well, you do what you have to do and you go on. But, from then on I knew it was over. Tag. I was it.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was about 24 and had 2 small children. I came down with some bug or other, and called my parents to ask them to watch the kids while I rested. They did, but it dawned on me that they weren't thrilled about it. That's when it hit me: These kids are MINE; I'm the one responsible for them, sick or not. Time to grow up and man up!

3:07 PM  

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