Real Adult Life

actual help wanted

Raising children is entertaining, if you can manage to take a step back from dirty diapers, dirty dishes, and dirty words coming out of formerly innocent mouths.  Each stage of the parenting game has its own quirks.  My little baby son called blueberries “boobabies” and that was cute.  My kindergarten daughter got in a spat of trouble and announced that “mistakes were made” showing her grasp of how to use language and the passive tense and making me giggle to this day.

I’ve watched them pass milestones.  They learned to read, to ride bikes, to swim, to drive, to figure out how to do things on their own.  For the most part they’ve blossomed into fabulous young adults and I’m incredibly proud of them.

They’re both, technically, anyway, adults now.  And one by one they’re learning the most important lesson of all: a good fifty percent of real adult life is spent trying to make other grownups do what they are supposed to do.  It’s frustrating and it shouldn’t be, but it’s true.

I get reprimanded a lot because of my complete inability to delegate.  “You really shouldn’t do this all on your own.”  “You’ve got to ask other people to do their part.”  “You’re not in this alone, you know.”

In theory, I know this is good advice.  There’s a committee in existence because many hands make light work, yadda yadda.  Which sounds great until you’ve actually served on a committee.  Ten people on a committee?  There’s only two who are doing anything useful, and two more who are actually getting in the way. 

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if I ask someone to help, I spend more time explaining what I need help with than I would have spent just doing it myself in the first place.  And fifty of those times I never quite got what I needed. 

It’s like getting a four-year-old to ‘help’ you bake cookies.  Sure, they’re big helpers, but you know good and well there’s boogers in the batter and you’re going to be scraping sugar crystals and weird blobs of goo out of crevices in your kitchen for weeks to come.

Unfortunately, you simply can’t do everything on your own.  A lot of things require other people’s cooperation.  Sometimes you just need someone in another office to get you a form, or to sign off on something, or to finish their part so you can start yours.  Now that my children are flying out of[1] the nest and I’m not there to make phone calls for them or make sure the registrar’s office gets a transcript from point A to point B the clear vision of reality they are seeing is giving them fits.  “But I did what I’m supposed to do!” They’ll cry. 

“Your point?”  I’ll respond.

“What else am I supposed to do?”

“Follow up.  Be the squeaky wheel.  Plop yourself in front of them and refuse to leave until it gets done.”

“I don’t have time for that.”

Ah, yes, grasshopper.  No one does.  And yet every single one of us spends hours upon hours begging other adults to put signatures on forms, forms into envelopes, envelopes into the mail, and so on.  That, my child, is what adulthood really is.  It’s not having the freedom to set your own curfew or go into a liquor store and buy whatever you want.  It’s not living in your own home and making your own rules.  It’s not eating cake for breakfast if you choose and going to bed without brushing your teeth.

Real adult life is having the doctor’s office on speed dial so you can call again about that preauthorization form.

Ain’t life grand?      


[1] Falling out of?  Being flung bodily out of?

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com, on Twitter, or on Facebook.   Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

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