What’s It Like to Grow Up?

Bedtime. The end of the day and what long days they have been lately. I laid next to my 6 year old son who requests book after book, story after story. He likes to reflect and ponder profound questions and slips these questions in between book and storytelling requests. Nearly asleep, he hit me with a zinger. What’s it like to grow up?

My 6 year old son shares my interest in “how” questions. The “why” questions often come up too, but we can’t always accurately answer those questions. This time, the “how” question was more personal than scientific. The scientific questions are easier to answer. The only challenge is to reduce the complexity down to their level of understanding. Piece of cake. But not this time, this time I would have to speak from personal experience and emotion. 

So how do you structure this? The good, the bad, and the ugly or all 3? 

I’m a chronological type of person so we began with childhood. Well, that was a delirious experience. Full of excitement, opportunity and curiosity fulfilled. No stress. No pressure. No worries. It was privileged. There is no other way to describe it. It set my confidence and ignited a flame to go after my dreams. 

College. Reality sets in. Actual work. Actual expectations and responsibilities. But the fun. Oh so much fun. I was lucky to meet my husband in college. We grew from teenagers to adults together. He appreciates this as well and often we share a smirk thinking back to the shenanigans we got into. 

Adulting. Real adulting. It’s tough. The highs and lows can feel as if you fluctuate from space to the core of the earth often in one day. Emotions run strong and are intense, but the joy of being alive and embracing the challenges is all possible because of what you’ve already gone through. Again, the tragedies and the triumphs. 

The most important takeaway that I want my son to realize is that the ride counts. Not always the end result.  A surgeon I used to work with once asked me, “Have you ever needed to prove to yourself that you could do something and now that you have you’d be fine to do something else?” That’s exactly why the ride has to count. Without it, the end result is nothing. The grandmother’s comment from the movie Parenthood has always stuck with me, “I like the rollercoaster. It goes up and down. Up and down.” Hang on my sweet babe, you’re in for a ride!

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