He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

April 14, 2011


If there's one truly positive thing to come out of the last couple of years' worth of turmoil, I think it's that I've finally learned to put away childish things and have truly become a grownup. I think there are few things that force you into that role faster than becoming a caretaker to your parents -- whether your own parents or your spouse's -- and being the one responsible for their estate after they die.

(I know you probably thought I was going to say losing your babies. That definitely contributed; but after that ordeal I felt more like a child who needed her mother than like a parent or a caretaker of anything.)

I was 22 when my dad died. Technically and legally an adult, but still very much a child. I reacted to his death as a child, and I still had my mom to take care of everything, to take care of me, and I had all of my siblings to share the load.

But with the death of Matt's mom, there wasn't anybody else to take care of things, or of us. We had to step up and get everything done, and take over caring for Matt's step-dad, making sure he was provided for and had everything he needed, and that he was coping with the loss. And then, shortly afterward, he passed too, leaving us with even more to deal with.

I think the day I became a grownup was shortly after Christmas, when we were still cleaning out Mom and Rob's apartment and getting Rob transitioned into the nursing home, when I had an epiphany. And that epiphany was this:

There is no magical moment where being an adult suddenly becomes easy, where the Grownup Fairy swoops down and imbues you with magical Grownup powers. Instead, you're grown up when you realize this, that it will never get easier, but you keep doing it anyway because it has to be done. As much as your parents made it look easy, that's just because they shielded you from how hard it really was for them. And if anything, it's just going to get harder.

I know that now, and I've stopped waiting for that magic switch to flip and suddenly make me some kind of Grownup Superwoman who can handle all of these responsibilities and trials with ease. I know it won't get easier, but I also know that I can handle it, that I AM strong enough, that I can cope. And that, Lord willing, I will be a kick-ass parent if He ever allows it.

I think knowing and accepting this truth is what has made me a grownup at last.

1 comment:

Hope said...

Wow. That is such a deep epiphany about being a grown-up. Thanks so much for sharing. Thinking deeply now . . .

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