Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others. ― Virginia Woolf

What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood? (Guest Post by Catherine Gildiner, author of After the Falls)

Here I go again not doing things in the right order. I spent a sleepless night very sick last night so I took a walk through the prompts and realized that this is one that I’d been thinking of in general.

I’ve been wondering if there is a moment or series of moments. I tend to think the latter.

Is it your first apartment? Well that’s a moment, but not entirely *the* moment. You do have to learn that when you are hungry you have to feed yourself, that you have to not be so frivolous that you spend your rent, but while adult, they are not enough to constitute the moment.

You’d think it would be when you get married, but that depends. It depends on if you are getting married for the right reasons and if you have found the right person. I know the second time I got married certainly made that abundantly clear.

Buying a house? Well when you sign the next 30 years of your life away, yeah that is certainly one of the *the* moments. Especially somehow if you make that purchase with someone. You realize then that you are making a commitment on top of a commitment and somewhere in the back of your head, no matter how much you love that person (and I do) you realize that you are signing on for a mess if something doesn’t work out. But the love and trust you have for the other person makes that signature possible. That leap of faith is a leap into adulthood.

There are smaller moments, like when you come home early from a really great time because you have something you’ve promised to do early the next day. Or you go to a party/dinner/function even though you know you are going to be uncomfortable, even though you know there are folks there you’d rather not see and would rather not see you. You put on your big girl panties and show up because it is the right thing to do.

The real moment though? It isn’t the moment you find out that you are pregnant, though that is when the clock begins to tick. It isn’t the moment when they hand you the baby because you are in shock. Joyful shock, delirious shock, utter shock.
No I think somehow it happens when you pack up from the hospital and you realize that you two don’t just get to take this baby home, you have to take this baby home and yes, you want to as well. And that you have not one freaking idea how you are going to do any of it. And you realize

all those things you remember from your own childhood? That 8th birthday party no one came to, that first heartbreak, those slammed doors …those wonderful snuggles and the first kitten, well you are about to be responsible for all those things for another human being.

And then yes, you are the adult. Whether you are fully adult or not isn’t the entire point, you are *the* adult.

And that, ultimately, is more important and makes you into an adult.

I think. I’ll probably know for sure in another 30 years or so.

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