Thoughts on Becoming a Grown-Up

This is what’s on my mind today…. You don’t get to your mid-fifties without going through some shit in your life. I’m no exception, without going into too many gory details. We married young and were pretty poor (had just enough money to cover the bills, had one car and lived in a two bedroom apartment) for the first several years of our marriage. I clearly remember having less than a dollar in cash between the two of us on one particular Monday before pay day. I became a mother just two weeks after my twenty first birthday.There have been health scares with our kids, a handful of surgeries (routine and a couple of pretty serious operations), the deaths of three of four of our parents, about five years of hell when our daughters were traveling the long dark road of heroin addiction….

Yeah. We’ve been through some shit, alright. And during every crisis we tucked and rolled and got through it and fell apart afterward.

But something interesting has been happening in the past six months. I’ve really been working on ‘feeling my feelings’ since walking away from booze. It’s not been easy, just sitting with discomfort instead of medicating it away.

Yesterday, the hubs had minor surgery. Now, I should tell you that he is the most amazing person. He wears so many hats in his job and accomplishes everything he sets out to do perfectly, with precision and integrity and complete attention to detail. He is very tightly scheduled and even more tightly wound. If you looked up the definition of “Type A personality”, you’d see his picture in the dictionary.

Well, we get to the surgical center at around 10 for an 11:15 procedure. And we wait. And wait some more.

They finally take him back to the pre-surgical area. Then they call me to come back and wait with him until the operation. We wait some more. Then we wait a LOT more. There were a few points at which I thought he would lose. His. Shit. Not get abusive or anything, but – he was almost literally crawling the walls.

I couldn’t blame him. You’re nervous, of course – and then you have to wait for almost three hours past your scheduled time??? Seriously???

But here’s the difference: I was able to sympathize and empathize and just let him vent without absorbing all the tension like a sponge. I didn’t fight it or resist it, even though reacting that way isn’t my thing. It’s like I was able to just let it run through me instead of soaking it up, marinating in it, and wanting to punch something. And then, like in the old days, biding my time until I could get home, get him settled, and have a drink. Or three. To just shake off the stress.

Afterward, he was so appreciative and sweet and thanked me a bunch of times for keeping him from going crazy… And I thought, “This must be what being a grown-up is. You just handle shit without having to medicate to get through it.”

Anybody else out there having these revelations? Doesn’t it feel so good to be a grown-up?

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