Oh, grow up!

My passport tells me I’m an adult, my birth certificate tells me I’m an adult, and when I look in the mirror I can definitely see that I’m an adult.  I do grown-up things: I work, clean the house, tend my allotment, drive, drink (and because I’m an adult I don’t do the latter two at the same time), I have a house, a car, children, bills, responsibilities.  So why don’t I feel grown-up?  Why do I still feel like a child playing at being an adult, clunking down the street in her mother’s high heels and lipstick? 

I remember being quite affronted when my mother, in her late-50s at the time, admitted feeling like she’d never grown up.  I couldn’t believe it: my mature, sensible, responsible mother feeling like a child.  That couldn’t be so.  I was the child, not her.  Now I know what she meant and I’ve been wondering whether we’re all walking around, looking like adults on the outside but feeling like kids within. 

I guess the first time I realised that others saw me as an adult with an adult’s authority was when I took my daughter, who was probably around two, to the seaside for the first time.  She was playing in the sand with a boy she’d made friends with when I suddenly heard her say “My mummy says you mustn’t throw sand”.  I was shocked.  I was a person that others would listen to and take notice of.  I could have an impact on another person’s life. 

Perhaps that was the day that I realised I was an adult – at least on the outside anyway.

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