Since before I was born, our house has been filled with kids in addition to me and my sister. My mom is the ultimate stay-at-home mom, becoming an “auntie” to just about everyone’s children within our neighborhood and circle of family friends.
As the years have passed, those first kids have grown up and some have even had kids of their own. And while none of those little ones have come through my mom’s daycare system (I’m sure it’s just a matter of time) my mom has become “grandma” and I’ve become an “auntie.”
Now becoming an “auntie” is enough for a girl to feel her age (all 25 years worth), but I recently got a reality check from Priya, a 5-year-old girl my mom watches:
Priya: “Ming, (auntie in Khmer) when you’re big like a mom, what do you want to be?
Me: “What do you mean?”
Priya: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Seeing as how I’m a college graduate and have embarked on this thing called a journalism career, I figured I was (at least partially) a grownup. But apparently, according to Priya, I’m not and probably won’t be until I’m “big like a mom.” Having been the same size since high school, I think it’s safe to say I’m as big as I’m going to get — all 5 feet, 1/2 inch of me.
So I’ve got the grown part down.
But I can understand why a 5-year-old would think I’m still a kid (aside from the fact that I still act like one from time to time). I haven’t exactly reached the “up” in grownup yet. I’m still living at home and have no kids or even a love interest. So it’s no surprise that Priya just views me as a big kid.
To be honest, I really don’t mind. I was never really the kind of teenager who couldn’t wait till my next birthday or when I finally turned 18 or 21. I was pretty content to just be whatever age I was. I like to think I’m still that way in that I don’t freak out about getting older as some women tend to do. The way I see it, getting old is inevitable. You can’t fight it, so you might as well accept it.
This being said, I think growing up is a choice. Obviously in some ways I am still about 15, 16 years old — if some of my reading material were to prove anything. But I would like to think I have matured, at least a little bit, in other aspects of my life.
And I think I have: I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in journalism as I’d wanted to since middle school; as I’ve mentioned already, I’m beginning my career in journalism and have a full-time job (with benefits and even a 401(k) plan); I’ve paid off my student loans (YAY!); I’ve bought a new car (miss you Doris!); and I even moved out at one point.
But alas, here I am, back at home. For the most part, it’s not a big deal to me. I get along with my parents and while I help out with the bills, my expenses are pretty minimal. And in this economy, I am very grateful for that.
However, there is a part of me that wishes for my own place. This is nothing against my parents or anything. I just miss the independence that comes from being on your own and fending for yourself and just being responsible for your own well-being. But with my recent vehicular purchase, I know my own place is going to be a few years away. And that’s okay.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll just enjoy being grown and wait for the “up” to happen.