Chloe discovered her shadow the other day. We took a full 20-minute break from what we were doing so she could dance around and watch it move. She was delighted. At one point, she turned to me and said, “In my shadow I get so big, but in your shadow you get small!” This was blatantly untrue; I was standing right next to her and my ginormous shadow dwarfed hers, but the thought that she was bigger than me made her so happy that I didn’t bother to point that out. Clearly her powers of imagination are developing faster than her powers of observation.
She’s becoming fairly obsessed with the idea of getting bigger, and being a big girl, and being much older than babies. Watching her dance around, I started thinking how much I wanted to be a grown-up when I was little. I was never quite old enough for what I wanted to do. I just needed to be a little bigger. And that led to me thinking about the fact that being older is nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing. The funniest part is, if I could go back and correct every misconception I had about getting older, it wouldn’t matter, because younger Erin wouldn’t freaking believe one word of it. Regardless:
My Letter to Younger Erin, Correcting Her Stupid/Naive Beliefs About Grown-Ups and Growing Up (Because These Are the Thoughts You Have as You Hurtle Toward Thirty):
Dear Little, Slightly Precocious, Usually Obnoxious, Erin:
You are never going to become a doctor. Hate to break it to you, kiddo. And it’s not because you’re not smart enough. But one day you’ll figure out you like some parts of school better than others, and that learning is only really fun when you care about the subject. As fate would have it, you’re not a big fan of science. Especially if it involves lab work. Especially if that involves taking detailed notes over long periods of time. Like a whole week. You’re not going to have much patience for that. You’ll still have to take science, of course. But you’ll spend most of your time writing songs about permanganate, and leaving hidden messages for future generations under the tiles in the lab. (BTW, they’re gonna remodel that school a couple of years after you leave, so that was a total waste of time.)
Grown-ups don’t know everything. They don’t even know everything they’re supposed to know. You’re going to figure this out about your parents pretty quickly (which will lead to years of strife and you not giving them credit for knowing anything, which is not so much fair, but nobody kills anybody and they still like you in the end.) Still, when you start to figure this out about the rest of the world, take deep breaths - it will be terrifying. Especially when you realize these people have been voting for decades. Everyone’s winging it. That blind trust you gave so freely as a child will be nearly impossible to muster up when you realize how many classes your pre-med friends slept through, and just how young your Kindergarten teacher actually was. Plus, your grown-ups don’t even have Google yet, so you can pretty much bet they’re raising you on old wives’ tales and hearsay.
Getting bigger hurts. It physically hurts. And not just because of growing pains and menstrual cramps, although NO ONE will adequately prepare you for the latter, so buckle up. It hurts because you have this crazy body that’s always changing. Just when you start to get comfortable, you’re going to hit a growth spurt, probably before the boys, just to make you feel extra awesome. And just when you think your body has chilled out, and you’re all done growing, it decides it’s time for the Freshman 15 or adult acne. Whee! Plus, you’re not going to become any less clumsy. You will sustain countless, humiliating, self-inflicted injuries. Get ready to nearly cut your thumb off, and fall down in the middle of the road and break your elbow, and get hit in the face with a basketball in PE class. And, the older you get, the longer it takes to heal. Also, you can forget about that idea that scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue, because someone said that in the 60’s and it turns out it’s a load of horse manure.
Nobody tells you when you’re done. You don’t unlock grown-up level just by playing the game long enough. There’s no badge, or card, or certificate. (In fact, when I start to think about how old our parents were when I thought they knew everything, I realize you are being raised by children. Don’t worry though, they do great.) You will hit a point when your birthdays don’t mean anything anymore, except getting closer to the ones everyone complains about it. There’s no birthday that makes you a grown-up. Certainly not 18, because you’re mostly an idiot then. Not 21, because you’re just a legal idiot then. And you don’t become a grown-up by getting a degree or having kids or getting a job or buying a house, because so many people you know have those things and are still kind of only mostly grown-ups. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. My best guess, at this point, is that you pretty much have to be older than everyone else in the world, and then it hits you: Oh hey, I totally grew up.
Don’t be sad about any of this. It’s probably a good thing you’re never quite going to feel like a grown-up. You’ll hit that point in your early twenties when you’ll think you are for two seconds, but that’ll pass, and every year you’ll realize you know less and less. Don’t freak out. It’s fantastic. You get to learn something new every day of your life. No one knows everything, but you get to start relying on other people in your life that know more about some things than you do. And you’ll Google things. And, yes, you’ll even call your mom or dad because it turns out they know things that Google doesn’t know. Not knowing everything doesn’t make you a fraud. It just makes you almost a grown-up.
Good luck. Godspeed. And seriously, if you can avoid that basketball to the face, do it. That’s going to be absolutely mortifying.
I found this hanging in my closet the other day. I’m not sure I even know where to begin.
I’ve been married for eight years, eight months, and six days. That’s 3,173 days total. Or 76,152 hours; but who’s counting? If you take into account the fact that we dated for a couple of years before that, and knew each other for a couple of years before that, we’re pretty well acquainted. But then he does something like THAT and I wonder if it’s possible to ever really know a person.
I get what happened here. The tank top wouldn’t stay on the hanger. Mind you, there are special hangers for the tank tops, but that’s fine. Whatever. This works too. Except no. This doesn’t so much work as it inspires immediate rage in the very core of my being. I know that is an overreaction, but I don’t think you can truly understand until you’ve spent at least 3,173 days married to someone. You don’t fight about the big things. You fight about THIS.
With that in mind, here are two lists, 3,173 days in the making:
Things Adam Does That Drive Me Completely Out of My Mind Crazy:
Things I Do That Make Adam So Angry He Can’t Even Talk:
There are plenty more issues that could be added to these lists, but it would take roughly 76,152 hours and I don’t have that kind of time. The important point to remember is that these aren’t actually problems. These are distractions. These are the things you forgive each other for every day for years and years and years because it would be exhausting to be upset about laundry and crackers and lost keys and frozen soup all the time every day.
YOU GUYS I AM NOT EVEN JOKING ADAM JUST WALKED BY AND SAID “I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO SLEEP TWO HOURS AGO” AND GAVE ME HIS JUDGY EYES.
That really just happened. He is denying that he was judging me in any way, but he thinks I would probably sleep better if I didn’t stay up so late. Oy. It’s a good thing the list of things that make me happy is way longer.
The second Friday of every month, I go to book club. I do not go to book club to engage in heated discussion of literature, or to open my mind and expand my horizons, or to wax philosophical. I go to book club to sit around with a bunch of friends (and occasionally the weird guests they bring), drink a bottle of wine, and talk. Sometimes about The Bachelor. Sometimes about Brazilian waxes. Very occasionally about the actual book that was assigned.
I am not ashamed of this. I find it comparable to a quilting circle or a bible study group. Except reading doesn’t make me want to bang my head against a wall. I like reading. I’m good at reading. It’s as good an excuse as any to hang out with my friends and talk and drink.
Last week we read (and by read I mean were assigned - only two of us read it) a book that was a little off the beaten path for our group. It was selected by the new girl, who nobody really knows, and if you’re reading this you know who you are because it was a new release AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN READ IT. We don’t usually read new releases, because they’re hard to find at the library, and they’re expensive at the book store. But she was the new girl, and she seemed so excited about this book. She gushed, “It’s written by the same woman who wrote Seabiscuit!” I have not read Seabiscuit. But I know it’s about a horse, and it was made into a Disney movie. These facts were not helping her case, considering our little club picked Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card for the first book of the year. We don’t really do horses. Or Disney. That’s just not how we roll.
Nevertheless, we all proclaimed our enthusiasm, because that’s what girls do. Our eyes get big and we think are you kidding me, but then we feel bad about hurting feelings so we say yes to something we shouldn’t. And then we talk about it later, ad nauseum, especially when the new girl tries to change the book after everybody has purchased and started reading it. Not helping your case, new girl.
I bought the book, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and read the whole thing on my iPad. And it was actually pretty good. It took me a while to get into it, mostly because of my initial grumbling about new girl. As it turns out, it was totally worth the time. In fact, I recommend that you read it, new girl. Since you didn’t.
I won’t give you any sort of plot summary, other than to say it’s about an American Olympic miler who becomes a pilot and a POW in Japan during WWII. It’s a true story, and it’s crazy. Read it. What I will tell you is what I googled while reading this book. I find that reading on the iPad leads me on regular google detours, some related to the text, some not, some very indirectly related only by strange connections my brain has chosen to make. I like to check out my browser history after I finish a good book, because it’s usually fairly entertaining.
And so, I share it with you:
Things That I Googled While Reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (in no particular order):
1. The B-24 bomber
2. How to remove a leech
3. Shaved foreheads in Japanese culture
4. When is shark week?
5. Map of Japan
6. Iraq war casualties
8. Stretches for runners
9. Human lung capacity
10. The Great Escape
11. Man vs. Wild
12. The Geneva Convention
13. Is Billy Graham dead?
14. Military suicide
15. John McCain POW
16. Sarah Palin mic check
17. Rice balls
18. Rape of Nanking
20. How many calories are in rice?
21. How to make homemade sushi
22. How long can you survive without food/water?
24. Hunger Games theatrical release
25. Pentatonix LMFAO medley
P.S. New Girl: If you are reading this, you are forgiven. You brought good guacamole, and the book was good, and you have good stories from work. Next time though, read the book you pick out, or do what Anne does and pick The Hunger Games because everyone in the 5th grade and up has read it already. Thanks.