You know the epiphanies that occur during the sometimes awkward transition from college to full adulthood? We call them Second Puberty.
I realized last Monday that I’m a full-blown adult. Age 26. Married. One child.
I live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and over the weekend the spring rain finally stopped, the sun came out, and there were bluebirds whistlin’ on shoulders in my vicinity. It was beautiful. No clouds. High ’70s.
On Mondays, I stay home and watch my two-year-old daughter Nollie while my wife works. Nollie and I were just about to throw a load of clothes in the dryer when I realized with excitement that it was clothesline weather.
Let’s pause right there. Look at me frozen in time with a blank look on my face while my daughter hands me a damp soccer sock with her tiny hands–she loves helping do chores. There’s an invisible thought bubble above my head. “We finally get to stop running the dryer and using unnecessary electricity… that’s going to save some money. Plus, I love the feel of air-dried jeans.”
I repeat, I was excited for clothesline weather. Yes, part of that excitement was because clothesline weather also meant that summer was here with BBQs, surf weekends that weren’t frigid, and campfires and starry nights. But, part of that excitement was because I genuinely liked the prospect of hanging clothes on the line and utilizing nature’s economical drying solution, the sun.
As I looked at Nollie and those thoughts ran through my head, I was transported back to my own childhood. There little me was, complaining to my mom about having to help her hang the clothes up on the line and wondering why we couldn’t just use the dryer. There was my mom explaining that using a clothesline was much more efficient and economical and that a little work never hurt anyone.
Right there is when I felt the tap of Father Time on my shoulder, turned toward the bearded sage and heard: “That’s right, kid. You’re the adult now. You’re the parent. You’re the one making the decisions and setting the course for your life and family.”
Moments of inspiring yet weighty realization are strange like that. They come at times unexpected. You’d think I would have realized I was the adult when I got married, or graduated college, or witnessed the emergency-C-section-birth of Nollie. I guess that knowledge was there in the back of my mind through all those things, but it didn’t walk right out into the open and shake my hand until Monday when I was unloading the dryer.
So, I did the only thing I could do. I hung my big-boy pants up on the line.