The Privilege of Growing Up
This morning my only child left for his last day of middle school. We’re moving out of my childhood home in exactly one week. In the past few days I’ve gathered paperwork from every corner of the earth to probate my stepmother’s will. I've spoken at length with Henrico County court clerks, wrested the IRS website, scheduled a date with a mover, made an appointment at the Dodge dealership, changed my primary care physician at my insurance company, gotten an ankle brace and an anti-inflammatory. I’ve made my dad a fake copy of his own wallet, fielded calls about his recent falls, and consulted with his therapist.
And this is because I have the privilege of growing up. This is because I am lucky. If things go well you outlive your parents and your children outlive you.
I have watched my son grow into an intelligent, responsible, and thoughtful young man. I have whined and cried about responsibility, decision making, paperwork. There are times I have wanted to stay a helpless child. Sometimes I still do. Growing up is long and complicated and painful. But it is a privilege. A privilege of far too few.
This week I’ve gone to a revelatory and painful therapy session, a shamanic soul retrieval, and a few 12 step meetings I can’t imagine surviving without. I’ve celebrated birthdays, retirements and graduations. I’ve taken my son to the zoo and packed his baby things into bins for deep storage. I’ve had aching dreams about people from my distant past. But nowadays the feelings only last for a stabbing flash before moving on. This is now. This is me, I love this self /life /family. I don't need to feed on dead love anymore. I can seek and find what I need to heal and to grow.
Not everyone has their parents or their children or a house to move out of or into. Not everyone has support and therapy and healthcare and mental health services and agency. Not everyone has clean water or access to healthy food or an equitable justice system or civil rights or freedom, even within my country, my state, my city. I hope I can keep growing up. I hope my son can, too. I hope we can share what we have until others have it, too.