Maturity

Like seriously. Knock it off.

These are the words I am yelling at my teenage son. 18 years old and I just spent the last hour trying to argue him into bathing. Like I did when he was 2. What part of becoming an adult meant that he was going to revert back to toddlerism? 

Add in a dose of teenage gross

Of course when he was 2 years old, he just ran through the house yelling no! But that’s not good enough when you’re 18. No! just isn’t as satisfying. Instead, he is running through the house, arms raised, yelling pits! Yes, he was referencing how stinky his armpits were. And of course it wouldn’t be complete without yanking off his shirt and chasing his baby sister, arms raised high, yelling pits! at her.

She’s squealing with laughter and running away, I’m yelling at him to knock it off (and much as I did when he was 2, I am trying to stifle my own amusement at his shinanigans). As teenage boys often do, he took it a little too far. He got the bright idea to stuff his nose in his armpit. He coughed and gagged and admitted he didn’t realize he smelled that bad. And off he went. And came back again. I sent him away again. He’s finally bathing.

A Reminder from Dear Abby

On days where my 18 year old (adult) son is pulling shenanigans that remind me of his toddler years, I take out this old post from Dear Abby that I found online years ago. It’s a reminder that as long as he’s learned these lessons, he will be okay. Shenanigans and all.

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Dear Abby’s definition of maturity

Adult or not

Most just don’t meet that definition of maturity at 18 years of age. Society says they are adults. And at 18 I had a load of maturity that most do not. But 18 years later I have a grown child of my own. I think it’s time to admit I was faking it. I had no choice but to stick with a job I hated until something better came along. I had a son to support.

There was no one else there but me. Money went towards food and diapers and either the cost of a hotel room or pitching in at a friend’s who let me crash on the couch. That first year, it was a lot of hotels. But I worked hard and I got my boy and I into an apartment. But at 18 years old, struggling with a new baby out in the world alone, not a day went by that I didn’t wish for some kind of justice for those that should have been there.

It takes time

We turn 18 and are thrust out into the world. We think we have an understanding. We read about it, we watched it on TV, we studied it in the classroom. We have an expectation of how the world turns. We are wrong. We learn how wrong through life’s lessons.

I couldn’t afford not to budget for diapers. Because of this, I never went through the experience of buying things I couldn’t afford. I apply this learned budgeting to my family while we are struggling to get back on our feet after a year of steady blows. I learned to budget on the fly when I was thrust into a situation where failure just wasn’t an option.

To bear an injustice

That one is pretty hard. Like I said, it’s been a year of steady blows.For some of them, I’d like to see justice served. I’d like to have front row tickets to the karma show. I don’t seek justice. I’ve never been much for revenge anyways. Mostly, I just push on. Push through. What else can you do?

I’m too old for this shit! Roger Murtaugh

Now that I’m older, I don’t wait around for the karma show. I will not hesitate to cut a person out of my life for anything that is completely unforgivable. I’ve gotten too old to keep giving chances and repeating history.

Maturity

To me maturity is simply being able to live the life that makes you happy. Being able to take care of yourself and your family. Knowing when it’s time to walk away. And knowing there’s a time and place to act stupid (pits!). Most of what we call immaturity is just personality. A person can have a childlike personality and still be mature.

Dear Abby’s post reminds us that maturity is about making choices and taking care of business. Maturity isn’t who we are it’s how we handle ourselves. We only learn how to handle ourselves when we are thrust into a situation where we must act.

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