Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing Up is Hard to Do

When did you consider yourself an adult? 

That’s one of the questions asked when discussing The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, a story about three very different sisters, each with big issues, who come home to ostensibly help their parents deal with their Mom’s breast cancer.  Quoting Shakespeare, integral to this family’s story, is an interesting way they all avoid communication.  It makes growing up a bit more difficult for all.

In our discussion, many thought it was having children that made them feel like adults.  One person went as far as to say she sees the difference between her two children and how the one with a child was more adult in her opinion.  I was okay with that until she then made some comment about how she wasn’t sure everyone in the room was an adult.  That not only caught my attention, it got my inner Bridget Jones dialogue going.  I kept hearing the lines about ‘smug marrieds’ and ‘tick tock, tick tock’ while I struggled to keep my big mouth shut.

Did that mean that the rest of us, those without children, are not yet adults?  Honestly, I’m feeling inclined to shake my rattle in protest.  How many people are out there who have had children and are far from mature?  I don’t want to point fingers but you know who you are.

But I digress.

What is it that makes one an adult?  Perhaps it goes back to something my father said when I was young, responsibility; being responsible for your own choices, good or bad and not blaming others when they haven’t worked out.  My dad stayed with me recently and that visit got me thinking that it was also about acceptance.  Accepting those we love for who they are and the decisions they make, even if we don't always like their choices.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop nagging him about drinking more water and walking a little more.  I’m stubborn that way.  Why do you think the guest room is on the second floor?

Then there’s doing the right thing, even when the right thing is a lot more challenging.  Like standing side by side with my father while we jointly made the funeral arrangements for my mother, or knowing when it is time to take one’s beloved animal companion to the vet for the last time, or even just honoring a friend's choice on their preference to keep their fatal illness private.  Hard stuff but all are part of being an adult, at least in my opinion. 

Do I think the three weird sisters became adults over the course of the story?  No, not really.  I think they’re still lacking in maturity but I do think they begin to make better choices on their journey to become so.  Like all of us, they are a work in progress.

While writing today, I’ve had that old Peter Pan song about never growing up in my head and almost feel a need to sing it out loud in my very off key voice, if only it wouldn’t scare the cat.  Yes, I do consider myself an adult but I also occasionally slip up.  Especially when someone else buys Oreo cookies and I end up eating way more than my share (yea, yea, I’m talking to you Pop).

And of course, I’ll always still slide open the cookie and eat the cream stuffing first…