September 17

Growing up is Hard to do


I took Thing One to see a band last Saturday night. Elvana, who are, according to themselves, ‘The World’s Finest Elvis Fronted Nirvana Tribute Band.’ And they were great.


Thing One is thirteen, and this was his first ‘proper’ gig. Sure, we had all been to see Madness late last year, as Thing Two is obsessed with them. It was an arena type show and we sat up in the balcony. Madness were great, we thoroughly enjoyed their set.

But Elvana was more of a down and dirty gig. We stood at the front, the floor was sticky with beer, Elvana got down amongst the crowd more than once and there was some moshing.

Polite moshing, but still moshing.

It was one of those first time things for us. You know what I mean, when you have kids you tend to get excited about first time experiences with them. First time flying a kite, first time tasting chocolate, first time watching a Ray Harryhausen creature feature together. (Wait, is that last one just me?)

Ray Harryhausen creature feature

When he was first born, everyone told us that cliche of how quickly he would grow up, and how we should treasure the moments we had with him.

Turned out the cliche was correct.

You see, I do miss him. I miss the little boy he once was, the toddler who loved Fireman Sam and dressing up as a pirate or a policeman or Spider-Man or a combination of all these and more until he morphed into some unknowable police/superhero/pirate creature that stalked our house uttering pronouncements such as “Yaargghhh!”

Yes, I miss that little boy.

Growing up is hard to do.

Not for him though, he’s having a great time.

No, I’m talking about me.

Wait a minute, you thought this post was all about Thing One, didn’t you? No, no, I’m talking about me. (I know, I know, I’m always talking about me, but it’s my blog so what are you going to do about it?)

I’m the one who finds growing up hard to do. Without actually telling you my age (but it involves a 3 and a 5 and you’d probably be best putting the larger number in front of the smaller one) I’ve got to a certain point in life where I’m thinking I should have got this growing up thing sorted by now. I’ve been around a fair old while, I’ve had my ups and downs, and I’ve seen a fair bit of stuff, some of it good enough that I wish I could take a mental photograph and capture it forever, and some of it bad enough that I wish I could take a mental eraser to my mind and scrub it from my head, but I still don’t feel like I’ve finished growing up yet.

When I was a child I used to look at the adults around me and think, won’t it be great when I’m an adult because adults have everything sorted and it’s all good.

I got that one wrong, didn’t I?

When I was a teenager I’d got to the point where I thought to myself, yeah, adults, they’re messed up for sure, but I’m not going down that same old road, I’m going to be better than that.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I got that one wrong too.

And it’s not like I think I’m the only one, the special little snowflake of screwed-upness amongst all the perfect people. They messed up and I messed up and I bet you haven’t got this growing up thing sorted yet, have you?

It makes me wonder sometimes, do we ever grow up?

I don’t know about you, but I still feel the same inside as I did when I was a kid. Maybe a little wiser, a little more battle hardened. But essentially the same person. Inside I don’t feel any older.

But then I look in the mirror on a morning and I recoil in horror at the aged beast staring back at me, and I think . . . actually, maybe we should just leave that there.

But I still don’t feel like I’ve grown up. Growing up seems like the final destination, or a gateway between two important states of life, between childhood and adulthood. But when I find myself yelling nonsense words with Thing Two as we jump up and down and wave our hands at each other, as I was doing last night, I have to think to myself, when exactly did I cross that line between childhood and adulthood? Has it even happened yet?

Maybe part of having grown up is going out to work and providing for my family?

No. I go out to work because I have to, much like my children go to school because they have to.

Maybe it’s because I have serious conversations about serious matters?

But then I catch my boys doing that too.

Maybe it’s because I can watch 18 certificate films?

But 18 is just a number, isn’t it?

No, I’ve decided, I haven’t grown up yet and I’m not sure I ever will.

Growing up is too hard to do.


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