Grown-ups

1 Jan

When my friends and I were little, we played “Grown-ups.” Sometimes we pretended we were 16 and had just gotten the freedom license brings. Sometimes we were in college. Sometimes we had graduated college, and played grown-ups in our early 20s. I was always 22, and married. Twenty-two seemed, to me, the perfect age to get married: Your done with college, and so what else is there to do but marry your dream guy?

I’m now 23, and I no longer play grown-ups because, well, I am one. I am one year past the age when I thought I’d be married, and if my childhood plans had gone correctly, I probably would have had a baby by now, too. My little sister, 11, and her friends now play grown-ups. I hear them, in my sisters room. They pretend they have husbands, and kids. One time I tried to tell my sister that sometimes life doesn’t happen like you think it will, and sometimes dreams change. She looked at me with her big brown eyes, not really comprehending what I was saying, and suddenly I felt like the practical person I’d become, someone with a full time job and car insurance and a heart that still hurts sometimes. Being a grown-up isn’t quite as dreamy as I’d imagined it would be.

But, I’ll let her dream, and figure things out on her own. That’s why childhood is so wonderful, the anything’s possible if I dream it up part. You want to be a veterinarian? OK, you’ll be one some day. You want a husband and lots of kids? OK, it’ll happen. I never, ever, want to take that away from her. Children grow out of their naivety on their own, like shedding skin. They don’t need us to do it for them.

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