Week #22: I’m the Adult Now

This post is for all the parents out there who may have woken up one morning wondering how they got there.

Those who followed a path as it appeared in front of them, doing what they felt needed to be done along the way but not really thinking about the overall destination.

Keeping their dreams in the back of their head with a plan to someday address them, but focusing instead on their obligations to their family and the day-to-day duties that needed to be done.

Or is that just me?

At some point in life, my focus shifted from what I wanted to do with my life to taking care of my children, balancing motherhood with work. I was an older mom working at a community newspaper and my employer was very accommodating of allowing for the balance of editor and mom, to the point where I was able to bring my babies to work with me for their first eight months. I was able to have a job I enjoyed and be a mom, two things I deeply wanted so despite the challenges that most working parents face, I felt I was on the right track. The day after our oldest son turned 2, our second son was born and 21 months later, our third.

Flash forward to a few years later to my sons being in elementary school. I recently started writing songs again and didn’t have any big aspirations for them, but I was regularly attending songwriting workshops and learning how to craft songs.

This week’s song is about a realization I felt at that time, three years ago. I was feeling overwhelmed after a day at home with the boys, who had not been getting along that day. I had been thinking about how here I am the grown-up in their life and in reality I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

That evening while taking a walk with one of my sons, I noticed my shadow on the garage door, the silhouette of a giant, and this line came to me:

My shadow on the wall makes me look so tall, but I don’t feel very big at all

It led to the idea of feeling like a fraud – being the grown-up and trying to help them navigate through their disagreements like I had all the answers when in reality, I was just improvising.

They’re lookin’ up at me as an authority
Don’t want to let them down, I’ll be their referee

How much of our roles do we step into because we feel we’re actually qualified to do the job, rather than do it because we feel an obligation to do so?

Are we ever really prepared?

Somehow, I’m the adult now
I’m the grown up, time to own up
No doubt, I’m freaking out
I turned around, found I’m the adult now

I used to think I was a calm, patient person, but having kids changed that. I used to think I was easy-going, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I didn’t think I was a worrier, but worst-case scenarios often dominate my thoughts these days. When did all this change? What happened to that free feeling of a road trip adventure where anything is possible?

It wasn’t long ago I traveled down that road
Chasing a mirage, going with the flow
Time tick-tocked away, work took over play
Responsibility swallowed up my day

Somehow, I’m the adult now
I’m the grown-up, time to own up
No doubt, I’ll figure this out
I’ll say it out loud, I’m the adult now

At some point, you just have to accept it. Yes, you’re the grown-up now and people are relying on you. Deal with it. You’re not the first person to experience this and you won’t be the last. It’s part of life.

It’s the way of the world, it’s a cycle of life
It’s an evolution as we try getting it right

If you’re lucky, you’ll even start to embrace it and be grateful for this period of life. True, maybe your life isn’t how you expected it, maybe you haven’t fulfilled your dreams YET but what you have is pretty awesome. Look at your life and think of all that happened to bring you to where you are today and realize that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Everybody has their own path and their own challenges and you are following yours. Make it the best it can be.

Somehow, I’m the adult now
I’m the grown-up, time to own up
No doubt, things will work out
I’ll make it count, I’m the adult now

(Recording from more than a year ago)

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