In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’ve Become My Parents.”
I read this prompt and immediately laughed. This is a conversation my wife and I have at least weekly. “Shit, I opened my mouth and my father came out. What happened?!?”
Well, we got old. We had kids. Yes, that was kids. Plural. We’ve entered that magical (maybe?) world of adulthood where we have to put the needs of some small people above our own. We have to talk about poop and puke and all things in between. We get up eight times a night to quiet the baby or to give him a teething toy. We scoot over at 5am on Saturday when our daughters come downstairs and want to get in the bed with us because they had a bad dream. We endure Dora the Explorer and The Backyardigans (who came up with that anyway?) when we’d rather be watching sports or the news.
How does this happen you might ask? Well, it’s not like you just wake up one day and suddenly feel old. It creeps in slowly, so slow in fact that you don’t even realize it until you’re standing in your house that you own talking to your kid about how responsibility and accountability are important aspects of being a good person. You launch into a ten minute monologue about the merits of being honest when you do something and *WHAM!* there you are. You’ve become your parents. It hits you like a ton of bricks.
I remember not so long ago my biggest concern in life was whether or not I should eat real food or ramen. Seriously, I was a bachelor and didn’t mind eating crappy food. I made up for it by going out and by having nice clothes and a house. Nowadays, the least of my worries is what I’ll wear. I’ve graduated to the stage of life where my biggest worries and greatest successes all have to do with two (relatively) tiny humans who depend on me for everything.
So yeah, I get on the older one for lying and running in the house. She hears about how important it is to do her best in all her endeavors and how she can be so great when she puts her mind to it. After she goes to sleep or when I have the house to myself, I realize how much I’ve become my mother or my father (or at least a good combo of both). It’s scary to think about it.
What’s more, it hasn’t really felt like seven years since she was born. Where the hell did that time go? I’m watching her grow up so fast that I don’t know what to do. One day she’s sitting here barely speaking, and the next day she comes home from school talking to me about how we’re omnivores and cows are herbavores. I’m not sure how to take it. And, I feel even more like my mom and dad when I think that way. They always told us how fast we were growing and how much we’d miss it when we were older. Of course, like every teenager in the world, I thought they were full of it. Turns out, mom and dad knew a thing or two and maybe I should’ve stopped and listened once in a while. Who knew, right?
I definitely feel it now too when I go out in public. I’m always getting Sir’d like I’m some 40-something guy who has done it all. Then I think about it, and to these kids, I’m that guy. They don’t know I’m in my 30s…they only know I’ve been around the longer than they’ve been able to function independently. I have been in the military nearly 14 years; some of these kids were born in the mid 90s when I was already in high school. Floors you.
We’re old people When the hell did this happen?