It’s possible that the biggest regret of my childhood is that I spent most of it lamenting the fact that I was a child. Last year when I took my daughter to Sesame Street Live my mother requested, “Take video! I want to see a child that actually enjoys it. When we took you, you just sat there with a puss on while all the other kids danced and sang along.”
Of course I did. I was a three year old with dignity. And clearly these over sized imposters weren’t going to report back to the REAL inhabitants of Sesame Street that some kid in Pennsylvania had a snooty attitude. I was born several hundred days ago. NOT YESTERDAY.
I have no recollection of ever believing in Santa, and certainly not after the year I was five when my parents gifted my sister and I an easel with a chalk “Merry Christmas, Sara and Elizabeth! Love Santa” scrawled in my father’s distinct chicken scratch.
Ever the snot, I turned to my younger sister and declared flatly, “Dad wrote that.”
With all the time that I saved not appreciating the fact that there was plenty of food to eat, gas in the car to take me where ever I needed or wanted to go and a wardrobe that rivaled Stephanie Tanner, I instead constructed an ideal of how exactly my life would be so much more awesome as an adult. Oh, young Sara. Sara with Sally Jesse Raphael large plastic frame glasses. You blissfully ignorant fashion plate.
MYTH: Shaving my legs will be a thing of glory.
The Christmas that I was 12, I received an electric razor that symbolized this new life changing freedom. After spending an hour in the bathroom that morning annihilating any fuzz that dare jut forth from any follicle from the neck down, I put it in my purse to take to Christmas dinner at my grandparents house. Just in case.
REALITY: Have we not evolved enough to stop growing this shit already?
“Oh, son of a bitch. I forgot to shave my legs again. Maybe it’s long enough that it will lay flat under these tights and no one will notice.” Or “I’m really psyched that summer is coming but I was just getting the hang of that once a month schedule I was on.” Perhaps I just thought with twenty years practice that I would be better at it by now. The scrap of toilet paper I stuck to my bleeding leg this morning suggests otherwise.
MYTH: I’ll stay up as late as I want.
I’ll go out and have fun! I’ll stay home and watch late night TV! THINGS are happening and I’m MISSING THEM.
I suppose there was a period of time when this was accurate, though it seems like a lifetime ago at this point. Currently I spend most nights either falling asleep while putting my children to bed, sifting through netflix to find something that isn’t recommended because I’ve watched Kickin It/Jesse/Daniel Tiger (oh, so sad) or thumbing through facebook like the rest of you that have given up on whatever “things” happen after 9 pm.
MYTH: I’ll never answer my kid with “Because I’m the parent and I said so.”
As a kid, there was NOTHING more infuriating that this sack of bullshit answer.
Children’s lines of questioning and badgering could send a hungry dog leaping off a god damn meat wagon. I’ve lost count of the times my 17 reasonable answers to consecutive requests has led to full on parental meltdown mode and I’ve growled this exact answer.
MYTH: When I’m an adult, my mom isn’t going to tell me what to do.
Perhaps the biggest myth of all here. I miss this delusion.
A couple weeks ago I posted a video on Facebook of my daughter and her friend all dressed up singing a song and generally harassing one another. Within minutes I receive a text from my mother saying something along the lines of, “Are those dresses they are wearing ones that I sent for when she’s bigger?” To which I responded by holding my breath and typing, “yes”. Her reply? “Don’t let her play in those. I’ll send dress up clothes for that.” Then just as I was about to say, “Sorry girls, we have to take the dresses off. My mom doesn’t want us playing in them.” I remembered that I’m an adult and now I DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO LISTEN.
While it’s disheartening sometimes to come to terms with what exactly being an adult IS NOT, as compared to what young me believed it WAS, there are plenty of joys to be had. Like buying a pack of oreos to hide on top of the refrigerator and eating them after the kids are asleep. And when you’ve answered a dozen questions in a row that began when they found the packaging in the trash, you can answer “BECAUSE I’M AN ADULT. THAT’S WHY.”.