On Growing Up

Noah is obsessed with magic wands, which he makes from just about anything that's long and skinny. Just in my eyeshot, I see two tree sticks, a plastic golf club, a drum stick, and an empty paper-towel roll — all his magic wands.

But these aren't Superhero wands or even magician wands, but fairy wands. As in the Three Good Fairies and Fairy Godmothers. After a love affair with Sleeping Beauty (make it pink! make it blue!) and Cinderella, his new favorite wand-related source of music and happiness is the Rodgers & Hammerstein version of Cinderella with Whitney Houston and Brandy. (Remember that ABC special? Back in '97?)

He loves it. (So do I.)

And, naturally, because he's a human with a pulse, his favorite song to sing around the house is Impossible. He especially likes the part where the lyrics change to say It's Possible (because of the zanies and fools who don't believe in sensible rules).

So do I.


I like to think I'm "grown up" now — what with a marriage certificate tucked away in an organized filing system, butted up next to my child's Social Security card and our insurance policies.

But — c'mon. I'm not. I'm not.

And instead of sticking my fingers in my ears screaming la la la lalalalala I'm mature! I'm different! LALALALA, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about and accepting where I am.

Sure I'm not stumbling home on a Saturday morning only to find 47 unflattering photos tagged on Facebook from a night I can barely remember. Just hearing someone use the word drama instinctively causes my eyes to roll — as if I shot back through time, to the high school cafeteria, and are you people still doing this? I pay my bills, cook family dinners, tuck my son in every night, healthy and clean and well-cared for, with a soft whisper of sweet dreams. And if the whisper doesn't work, I rock and console him — promising to always protect him. And meaning it in the most primal of ways.

But that's just surface maturity.

In all honesty, I'm still in a primitive state of adulthood. When it comes to not only parenting and (especially) marriage, but life in general, the leaves fall off trees and I wonder if they'll ever grow back. I have the experience, the perspective, of a 25 year old — and that's okay. I'm okay with that. I still have to live through more of life's many, many cycles — the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the dark times that feel insurmountable yet you somehow come out on the other side.

And that's what ultimately quiets the self-doubt and minimizes the missteps while we fumble around in the dark. Perspective. But thankfully I have a reason to stay on course — a fast-track course. I have a reason to make the big changes, to prioritize my life, to become the kind of person that might have taken years of life lessons to become.

Yet what I lack in perspective, I make up for with possibilities.

With blind ambition and positivity.

With leaps of faith and time to spare.

With impossible hopes that can easily be possible.

One day I'll be 42, sitting down with my 20-year-old son at the same dining room table that we've eaten dinners at for decades. He'll ask for advice — the kind of nitty-gritty advice that can only be answered with serious life experience. And I'll have it. I'll be 42 and have already raised a family to adulthood, navigated through the lowest points of marriage, made the right moves, made the wrong moves. I'll have the perspective of someone who's watched a little boy take his first wobbly steps all the way to the dining room table where he wants to know if she's the one for him.

I'll have the perspective, and I'll give the advice.

But right now he needs magic.

And that I can do.