Momentarily, I want to call my mother and tell her that I was really lying when I cried about wanting to be an adult. I mean, at the age of 16, she should have known not to take my overly-hormonal, know-it-all rants too seriously anyway… right? Now, 19 years later, I would love to say I have this thing called “adulthood” all figured out; however, the truth—and I’m adult enough to admit it—is that sometimes I crave that nestled security a parent provides, or I find myself longing for the days of me, myself, and I. Not to mention, I surely wouldn’t mind going back to the years when my financial obligations simply rested in thoughts of trendy clothes or my next Burger King meal.
More importantly, though, those times of innocence is what I miss the most: the innocence of life. Those days have long been substituted by the captured innocence within my very own children, and the many lessons they have taught me about this thing called “adulthood.” No doubt, it is definitely because of them that I was even able to master the art of napping. To think, there was a time during my youth when I actually surrendered all of my undivided attention to the world around me, and sleep was nothing more than a mere battle to be fought day in and day out. You see, children understand the simple things in life. And my children help me to remember to appreciate the things I might subconsciously take for granted every day.
Having children, I find myself wanting to forbid the harsh realities of this world in an effort to preserve their naiveté. Recently, I read a story about a young girl who was not allowed to attend her friend’s birthday party because her friend was African American. I also watched a video that a mother posted of her child completely distraught because children at her school refused to play with her because she was African American. I’ll never forget how warm my heart feels when my four-year-old daughter refers to her friends that don’t look like her. She describes certain physical characteristics, but never the color of their skin. For instance, when telling me about her best friend, Liam, my daughter refers to him as Liam with the blue eyes. One day, she described a Caucasian girl on TV as the girl with the vanilla hair. It is in those moments that I am able to reflect back to that state of innocence and appreciate a time of simplicity. What would the world be like if we all were granted opportunities to relive the beauty of innocence? In my attempts to mold my children by using my own morals and values, I often wonder about the moment in which the veil of innocence or simplicity will be removed. However, I can only pray that my children won’t succumb to the realm of life’s matter-of-facts, but rather adhere to the fruit of life’s lessons. For me, that paves the way for true adulthood.
The dwindling days of minuscule worries are inevitable, and in the presence of my current “adulthood” state, I have also been granted the chance to witness the juxtaposition of my four-year-old daughter and now 18-year-old son. Where my daughter is fortunate enough to still be able to marvel in gullible notions, my son is stuck in the mental complexity between wanting the lavish freedom of independence, but still needing the safety net of reliance. I constantly remind him to enjoy the days of still being able to depend on mom’s home-cooked meals, a free place to live, and temporary freedom from debt. Presently, he is not able to realize that one day, within a blink of an eye, the loud rings of adulthood will wake him out of a privileged, 12-hour sleep, demand that he go work a 9-5, and heed the rules of pestering Uncle Sam.
I remember the day when my son had a revelation that money really can’t make one happy. Simultaneously, my daughter made a wish to the sun that we all could turn into Tinker Bell. Although there is more than a decade age gap, together, they both force me to recapture and appreciate the details, lessons, and innocence of life.