The Perks of Being an Adult

In spite of the daily stressors of things like going to work and paying bills and sharing the roadways with morons who apparently honed their driving skills over a cutthroat game of MarioKart, being an adult is actually pretty awesome. Sure there are parts of it that kinda suck–like watching the government take half of your paycheck in taxes and no longer having long summer vacations where you can be lazy and stay up until 4:00 a.m. watching episodes of Mystery Science Theater and eating an entire pan of brownies that your amazing adolescent metabolism will somehow burn off before your body can even consider turning said brownies into fat cells.

But, all in all, I have to say, being an adult kind of rocks.

First of all, I have way more street cred. I liked to joke around a lot as a kid, and I mostly spoke in sarcasm. The drawback to my wit was that a lot of people tended to laugh me off even when I was trying to be serious. Granted, I generally like to play most of my emotions very close to the chest and never really gave most people a chance to see what I was hiding behind my cool exterior, but it still often seemed that I never really had anyone that I could talk to about the really complex stuff. These days, I’m the one that just about everyone comes to with the complex stuff, and I seem to do a pretty good job helping them figure it out. I’m not sure exactly when that happened, but I’m so much more comfortable on this side of the confusion.

I’m also lucky enough to be in a really awesome relationship. Stevie and I are going on nine years of wedded bliss, plus two years of engagement, two years of dating, and five years of friendship. We’ve been together (or at least around each other) for more than half my life already, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m getting to the point now where there is a stark division in my memories. There was life B.S. (Before Stevie) and A.S. (After Stevie), and yeah, a good portion of my life without him in it sort of seems like B.S. now (haha, see what I did there?).

Our relationship isn’t perfect by any means. We have our moments where we bicker and hurt each other’s feelings, but in the grand scheme of our relationship, those moments are very fleeting. He’s my best friend–the first person I run to when I need support, the first person I want to share a funny story with, the first person who gets my jokes, and the first person who will call me on my bullshit. I honestly can’t imagine what my life would be like without him, and fingers crossed I won’t ever have to find out. We both agree that no matter what happens, we’re sure as hell never getting divorced. Neither of us wants to ever dive back into that dating pool. The waters are murky and full of way too much weirdness. Plus, I doubt either one of us could find another partner who could put up with our quirks or our warped senses of humor.

We were made for each other, and we’re both on this crazy ride together right until the very end.

But the best thing about being an adult, that’s gotta be the fact that you get to make your own rules. Sure there are still plenty that you have to follow. You’re not allowed to walk into BestBuy, fill a grocery cart with assorted electronics, and stroll right back out of the store without paying. And you’re certainly not allowed to drink a six-pack of beer and a 2-liter bottle of homemade jungle juice, strip down naked, and march through your neighborhood singing I’m Sexy and I Know It at the top of your lungs.

But, for the most part, if you’re living in these great United States of America and you’re paying your taxes and obeying the laws and not hurting anybody, then you pretty much have the freedom to do what you please in the comfort of your own home. If you want to spend your entire weekend in your pajamas binge-watching The Walking Dead and eating Chinese take-out, no one is going to try and stop you. And if you want to forgo dinner altogether and stuff your face full of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, then go for it. You’ve earned it, haven’t you? Your house, your rules. Simple as that.

Cadence is a pretty smart cookie, and she’s starting to understand that her daddy and I are enjoying this adult thing way too much. After her shopping trip at Toys R Us this weekend, I made the executive decision that we needed to stop at the store on the way home and pick up some ice cream (don’t ask why, it just sounded good). Stevie and I let Cadence pick out a flavor, and then we each grabbed a pint. Since they were on sale, I grabbed one more just to even things out.

“Why are we buying four ice creams?” Cadence asked as we headed toward the checkout line.

“One for you. One for Mommy. One for Daddy. One for Henry.” Stevie explained.

Cadence giggled. “Silly, Daddy! Henry can’t have ice cream!.”

“That’s right,” I said. “Henry can’t have ice cream, so Mommy and Daddy will just split Henry’s.”

“Heeeeey! That’s not fair!” Cadence hollered.

“Sure it is,” I said. “We’re the adults. We make the rules.”

Stevie didn’t miss a beat as he chimed in with his usual speech, one Cadence has probably heard at least 400 times in her short life:

“I’m the King. Mommy’s the Queen. You and Henry are the little court jesters running around. When you move out, and you’re the Queen of your own castle, you can do anything you want.”

“Ugh! Daaaaaddy!” Cadence sighed, and I saw several shoppers around us start to laugh. And we laughed.

Then we headed home and ate dinner and we busted out some ice cream afterward, and all was right with the world.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 13

People always talk about how much your life changes, how much you change, when you have kids. It’s true in a way, I suppose. There are certain parts of my life that have changed immensely. I’m perpetually sleep-deprived. I plan most of my evenings around stories and consistent bedtimes. And a normal day (at least during the baby and early toddler years) usually includes me getting puked on, pooped on, or walking around covered in a thin layer of drool or something unidentifiable and slightly sticky. But as a whole, I’m still very much the person I was before my kids were born. There are parts of myself and my life (like my writing, and my relationship with my husband) that I cling to, because they are things that keep me tethered and make me whole.

A certain level of of chaos is to be expected when you bring a child into your home, and yet I don’t agree with the people who claim that your entire life and world and marriage and identity get turned completely upside down when you have kids. For some people that might be true, and hey, I’m not faulting them for it. We all get to choose how we’re going to approach this thing called parenting. But I tend to think that completely allowing your children to take over your life and your marriage is a very dangerous road to go down, especially if you want to emerge with your partner and your sanity when the kids eventually leave the nest.

Stevie and I certainly aren’t perfect, but the fact that Cadence is still alive and that she’s a really great kid (at least 96.7% of the time when she isn’t overtired and whining) gives us a little hope that our parenting philosophy is working, and that we just might have a chance of our kids growing up to be smart, compassionate, productive members of society.

We try to keep it pretty simple.

1. We’re in charge. End of story. We made you. We wiped your butts. We go to work and make the money. We pay the bills. We make the rules. There is no sense of entitlement allowed here. And this certainly isn’t a house where a kid (be it a toddler, a grade schooler, or a teenager) is going to run the show. Sorry, not happening. As Stevie says (and his Dad once told him), “We’re the King and Queen of this castle. You are our little court jesters. Someday, when you move out, and you are the King and Queen of your own castles, you can make the rules. Until then, we do. Get used to it.”

2. We are a united front against you. There’s no taking a no from Mom and running to Dad to turn it into a yes. Not even a maybe. No means no, and we’re both sticking to it. We started telling Cadence this when she was too young to even understand it, but now she gets it, and I think it just might be one of the reasons she was so excited for Henry to be born, so at least she had someone in her corner to lend a little support to her cause. It’s also the reason we’re perfectly content being a family of four. We’re not interested in being outnumbered.

This December, we are suddenly outnumbered because, let’s face it, inviting a couple of ornery elves in for the month leading up to Christmas is sort of like asking to be thrown into a pool with a school of semi-hungry piranhas–you know there’s some danger present, but you still firmly believe you can survive, even as they begin to nibble at your toes.

So, after a few messes left behind after their late-night junk food binges, Santa decided to step in and help us out a little bit. Thanks big guy.

Cadence and Henry take note.

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Project Life 365 – Day 65 – Daily Commute

Okay, so it’s not really my daily commute since Cadence is only attending preschool two days a week at this point, but it still counts.

My blog. My rules. Remember?

So, here is what I see that irritates me every single time I pull into the parking lot to drop off and pick up my daughter from school–a whole line of cars sitting in the Fire Lane.

Call me petty, but here’s my issue…

It’s the Fire Lane, people.

FIRE LANE!

If you are not on fire or equipped to fight a fire, then you have no business parking there, waiting there, idling there, or whatever it is you’re doing there. Nevermind the fact that the school handbook politely states that no one is allowed to park there…ever. And nevermind the fact that the school actually too the time and the resources to print up a nice little Fire Lane explanation, complete with detailed map, to send home with each student to show the parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and caregivers the proper procedure for pulling into the parking lot and parking (completely bypassing the clearly marked Fire Lane) to drop off and pick up students safely.

Honestly, unless the administration starts booby trapping the Fire Lane with spikes and land mines, I don’t know how much clearer they can make it.

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