I'm almost half-way through my thirties, and for the past ten or fifteen years I've been wondering when I might start feeling like an adult. I had recently come to the conclusion that the feeling was a myth - a sort of brass ring that you were always reaching for, but never actually got hold of. Even when we bought our house I felt like the adult police were going to show up at any minute to kick us out.
I figured having a kid would be about the same. Boy, was I wrong. Shortly after Charlie turned a month old I woke up and it hit me. I'm somebody's mother. It's finally happened. I'm a grown-up. I have this weird urge to try harder at life, to be better at the simple things, like laundry and bill-paying, and keeping in touch with the people I love.
Who knows if it will last, or if I'll revert to my old goofball ways after that "new baby smell" wears off.
For now, I find myself looking at things in my life differently. The decrepit state of our couch, for instance, suddenly bothers me to the point of distraction. We got it off of Craigslist when we first moved to Austin a few years back. At the time we were broker than broke, so when we scored a sofa and armchair set for just $75 we felt like we'd won the lotto. Sure, it has pretty much no inner-springs left, but so what? We couldn't afford to worry about sinking cushions at the time.
Since then, the cats have enjoyed scratching the fluff from the legs, and whatever semblance of coils remained have long since disintegrated. I've always endured this man-eating piece of furniture with a touch of pride. Aren't I clever - patching the cat scratch holes with charming calico? Aren't I practical - realizing that spending money on nice furniture was futile with pets at home and kids on the way? I'm so humble - making the best out of modest means.
Then I had a baby. And after that baby came I looked at that couch and instead of seeing quirky imperfection I saw an infuriating piece of crap. It's not the kind of couch you sit down and bounce your baby on. I tried. We sunk. The man-eater went up for free on Craigslist and I never looked back.
Of course, even all grown-up, I'm still me. And "Me" is having a hard time coming to terms with the price of new couches. We still might get the replacement on Craigslist, but so help me God, it will not sink when you sit on it. Those days, it seems, are at an end.