it just might be time to grow up

It’s been a good week.

My youngest child turned eighteen yesterday and…like magic…she became a responsible adult.  She immediately took over paying for her own gas, her car insurance, her schooling, and all other things responsible adults take care of.  She got up, cleaned her room, made me breakfast, did the dishes, and asked if she could vacuum the entire house for me (because she knows I hate to vacuum.) Next thing I know she’s out looking for a new place to live and shopping for groceries on the way back.  My little girl is all grown up.

And then I woke up and it was still Saturday. 

Is it possible we expect just a little too much of our children just because they have reached a milestone age?  Isn’t it written somewhere that the human brain hasn’t reached full maturity until approximately age twenty-one, when in reality, most men I know didn’t reach maturity until way past their thirtieth birthday, and some still haven’t gotten there? 

I’m not suggesting we coddle our children for their entire lives, I expect my newly anointed adult children to pursue a higher education and seek gainful employment.  But when did our culture turn into one that boots their young out of the nest so early?  I seem to remember my grandparents talking about families living together until the children were married…like they do in other cultures. 

But I guess I’m not looking for that to be the answer either.  I would like to find a happy medium.  I want my children to learn how to be responsible adults at home before they are bounced out into the real world to fend for themselves. 

I suppose that means I need to start acting like a mature responsible adult and give up my childish ways. 

But where do I begin?  Am I supposed to burn my copies of Harry Potter and Twilight to gain entry into the folds of adulthood?  Are things like popsicles, bubble gum, and ice cream sandwiches forever off my grocery list?  What about ordering a Happy Meal…what if I swear it’s not just for the toy? 

I think the only responsible thing I can do is to decide what the absolute worst offenders of an immature lifestyle would be, and permanently remove them from my vocabulary. 

So from now on I will vow never to watch the Jersey Shore, the Bachelor, or the Housewives of anyone’s county for fear my brains will turn to mush and my ability to parent will be permanently rescinded.  The fact that I have never watched them before doesn’t matter one bit since I’ve been meaning to watch for years, and now it’s simply too late. 

I will also adopt the very adult practices of drinking coffee, red wine, and dry martinis.  This is a huge sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. 

And by joining the ranks of adulthood and giving up the worst of all childish evils, I have left myself open to continue my ongoing relationships with the socially relevant Facebook and Twitter, where I monitor the current trends so I will know how to communicate with the younger generation.  And my collection of Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons so I don’t lose touch with my past. 

I think I’ve got this whole responsible adult thing figured out.

Until the next time…I’ll be donating my Justin Bieber and team Jacob t-shirts to the local Goodwill!

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Posted on August 14, 2011 .