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Grow Up

It’s getting colder and darker and no one wants to get up in the morning. Not even the dogs. The only time it’s fun to get out of bed in the dark is if you are going on an exciting holiday. There is nothing exciting about a wet Wednesday.

My children moan and grumble all week, refusing to rise, but come Saturday morning, are up with the lark. Isn’t life funny like that?

I’m writing this on a train that is going to be delayed and won’t be stopping at any of the normal stops. Isn’t life funny like that too?

This morning, after carefully selecting a clean, ironed shirt, I went downstairs to make my morning cup of tea. When I rinsed the teaspoon, the water from the tap rebounded off it and soaked me. Life is full of these small annoyances. There isn’t much you can do about it. That didn’t stop me from calling the tap some very salty names.

I get cross and annoyed by things I can’t change. Bags of dog poo hanging from trees. People with no children parking in the spaces for people with children. People who litter. That rainy wind that blows in your face. People who tread on the edge of a homeless person’s blanket. Trainers with a hidden wedged heel. People who say, ‘winner winner, chicken dinner’. Leaking teapots, bags with holes in, snapped shoelaces, umbrellas with a bent spoke. Umbrellas in general actually.

I imagine this anger like a small internal wood burner, keeping me warm. We all need a little fire inside us. One of my children has rather a large log burner inside her. It’s more of a steam engine actually.

She lets rip often, and though it’s awful and always ends in tears, I almost envy her. How I’d love to stamp my feet, throw myself on the floor and beat it with my fists. How wonderful it would be to trash the house and not have to clear it up after. To kick over the clean washing, smash eggs on the side, tip the cutlery drawer upside down. An orchestra of chaos, a symphony of sound. I’d love to proudly sit upon a pile of destruction, only to be patted and told ‘poor poppet. You didn’t sleep well last night, did you?’

Can you imagine the husband giving me a cuddle if I behaved the way my daughter does? No. Me neither.

When you are an adult, no one cares how you slept. Your reactions to situations have to be mild to moderate. Kicking the train after finding out it wasn’t going where I was, would have been childish. I still wanted to kick it. Swearing at the tap didn’t undo the fact that it soaked me, but I swore at it anyway.

It’s sad that life is best when you are too young to appreciate it. All my kids seem to want to do is grow up. I keep telling them ‘it’s rubbish’ but they don’t believe me. They dream of the day they have no fixed bedtime and can drive a car. I try and tell them about insurance and tax and MOTs, but they just shake their heads and say ‘yes, but you can go where you like.’ Mostly, we go to ASDA because we’ve run out of milk and things for packed lunches. It’s hardly Route 66.

As for not having a bedtime, all it means is you stay up too late watching rubbish on the telly, and struggle through the next day. We overreact, overeat, oversleep, overspend. We’ve lost our childish sense of wonder. We don’t find majesty in a plastic bag being blown on a breeze. Instead we tut and chase it down the street because LITTER!

I wonder if anyone has found the balance between childhood and adulthood? There is a theory that we all operate in three modes. Parent mode, adult mode, and child mode. We cannot do them all at the same time. My husband also has ‘grumpy old man mode’ in which he operates a lot.

No one told us it was going to be this way. Our parents tried but we didn’t listen. We told ourselves life would be great when were fully grown. That we’d give our kids all the things we were never given. It never works out. It’s not till a song comes on, not heard for ages, that we briefly remember who we were. I have an angry playlist I listen to when I feel too ‘adult’. Most of the time I just get on and clean, but sometimes, just to remember who I was, who I am, I turn up the volume and remind the duster and the mop, the world in fact ‘*** you. I won’t do what you tell me.’


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