The year I turned 18 I paid $50 to have my tax return completed by a professional. I thought you had to take it to someone; throughout my years of schooling I had accrued deep knowledge about many important things (the best colour hair dye to use, the route to take from French to Ancient History to make sure I passed Scott Shahidi in the corridors, etc.), however, sadly, tax was not one of them. The following year I’d somehow learned that I could just pick up a form at the post office and fill it in without the help of an accountant, plus it was my first year at uni and money was therefore far more precious, so I did my own tax return. Submitting it all by myself in 2002 was the first time I remember having the overwhelming sense of being A Real and Actual Grown Up Person with Important Responsibilities.
I’ve had many more of these moments over the 12 years since then. Like just now, when I figured out that it’s been 12 years since I started uni. And when I realised I was now the type of person who read the washing instructions on clothes before buying them (“Sorry, pretty blouse; I love you and it’s been very nice daydreaming about us together, but you are too high maintenance for me and so I will have to return you to the rack. Farewell”). And when I noticed that I’d started relating to the parent instead of the child in stories I read or watched. And when I turned 31. And when it struck me that the most daring thing I do these days is hang out my washing on a day with a forecasted 50% chance of rain (it didn’t! HA!).
I’ve been having lots and lots of those realise-y moments this year, as I watch myself filling in forms (I have to remember 3 birth dates now instead of just mine) and making appointments, and ringing up and changing said appointments after realising they clash with other appointments I’ve made, and remembering to take referrals to one place or another when I’m supposed to, and organising swimming lessons, and checking out potential schools for Moses. I caught myself the other day thinking I’d have to start some kind of system to keep track of the important bits of paper we’d need to take with us to various things in the months ahead. A system.
And then there are the preschool things, like photo day (I had to fill in an envelope and put money inside! For my kid! I remember taking an envelope to school for me!) and headlice warnings (I found myself simultaneously glad that Mo has no hair for lice to set up camp in, and disappointed that I’d miss out on this round of dragging nits along long strands of hair before crushing them between my finger and thumbnail…Not that I daydream about things like that. Never. Gross). So school photos! And headlice! All proof that I am now The Grown Up rather than The Child.
I think all these moments stand out for me because I still don’t see myself as being The Grown Up. I feel like a fraud as I talk about “my son” this and “my daughter” that over the phone to receptionists. I’m waiting for someone to pull me aside and ask quietly, “Are you just faking this whole Responsible and Mature thing?” I still smirk when I hear the word “balls,” for crying out loud!
Anyway, now Moses has an appointment with an orthodontist. An orthodontist! It’s official.
I… I don’t even… I don’t…