“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” ~ Lettie Hempstock, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
It is Mother’s Day. I’ve had a pretty pleasant day of it. I did not get up and run early (mostly because my running partner is out of town). I slept late (for me). I have clean sheets on my bed which makes me really happy. After a lazy morning, that included rain, we wandered over to the mall. I ate the frozen yogurt at Bloomingdales with melba sauce. It is overpriced but it may be worth it. I was introduced to it by my co-workers last week. The plain yogurt is tart and not sweet. The melba sauce is red and maybe raspberry. The combination can’t be beat. And the small is almost too large. It may be the only thing I can afford at Bloomingdales. This was after we had gone down to the bookstore where my son bought me the newest book by Jeff Vandermeer. I had a love/hate relationship with his previous trilogy but came out a solid fan by the end. He was interviewed on NPR on Science Friday about his newest book. How could I resist? When we came home, I convinced my family to play a game of scrabble. I won. Perhaps they let me win. I’d like to think that is not the case.
We do not do Mother’s Day brunch. I think that is weird. Why brunch? I’m unsure. Is it because the rest of the family can’t cook at all so waiting till dinner would be mean? I ended up picking up Greek salads from Costco yesterday and my son and I are eating those tonight. And of course, when you eat Greek salad from Costco you have to watch the movie Coraline. It is the rule. We tried to watch Dirty Dancing once but we couldn’t do it. It just so happens that Coraline was written by Neil Gaiman who is also the author of our current book club book (see above quote).
I really liked this Gaiman written quote because it reminds me of my mother. And me, as well. My mother, is kind of awesome. She was a single mom when we were growing up. One thing that she says to me over and over is that she does not mind getting older but doesn’t understand why she has to dry up and look like a prune. She doesn’t like to tell people how old she really is because she feels like if she does then people discriminate against her.
I feel like her comments on her outward appearance are really saying that she is the same on the inside. The same inside that she has always been. For many years. And, maybe, not very grown-up like. I wrote in the past about when I had given birth and the hospital asked me, “name of mother” and I gave my mom’s name and not my own. Not very grown-up like.
We had a discussion today about people of a certain age, making bad decisions, and how they should know better. But it goes back to this idea, this concept of the grown-up. This concept that somehow because you are older, because your body is bigger that you will do the right thing. That you will know what it is that you are supposed to do.
Mostly I find myself feeling like my mother. Like someone playing the part of a grown-up. Like dress up. At this point in my life, as old as I am, I’m thinking that I may never feel like an actual grown-up. Or maybe that is when you know that you are a grown-up, when you realize that there is no standard. No guidebook. No manual. That most of us are just feeling around in the dark. Thinking that we are woefully inadequate compared to those who are older than us, or our peers. Those who seem to know where they are going. Can navigate life like professionals.
I wonder how different my life would be if I knew what I wanted since mostly, it feels more like being adrift. And this has been both good and bad for me. It has taken me to places that I would not have been otherwise but it has prevented me from making critical decisions. And I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Thinking about making difficult decisions. Because I am at that age. That age when the time ahead is more than likely shorter than the time behind. And this is what is forcing my hand. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to put my sail up and test the wind.