Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ain't Nuthin' But a Number

My parents are young.  YOUNG.  When I tell people how young, they are stunned.  Sometimes I am offended when I mention my parents’ ages, because their reaction can be a little extreme, and I know it means that they think I’m much older than I really am.  And that just stinks. 

It's scary to think about how young some people are when they start out. What’s even scarier to me is that my parents had a house and children almost immediately after they got married at nineteen.  Let’s compare this to what my life was like at this age.  I was in college, and my roommates and I furnished and decorated our apartment with things like abandoned construction spools and stolen street signs.  One day, we found a baby turtle.  We let it loose in our apartment and it was gone forever in like, three hours.  A baby in my full-time care, at age nineteen?  That’s outlandish.  When I was nineteen, my biggest concern was if my fake ID was going to work in the bar that night, and which belly shirt I was going to wear as back-up in case the ID failed.  At nineteen, I was a stone cold fool.

I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I had had a child any younger than I did, let alone when I was nineteen.  Holy crap.  I still wonder who dropped the ball in the first place by deciding that I should be responsible for raising kids.  I won’t even go into how much of a nightmare marriage would have been if I had gotten married any younger than I did.  Marriage is hard.  Hard for me, hard for my husband, but mostly hard for me.  My parents, who got married virtually out of the womb, had it hard, too, though they make it seem easy.  They seem to be as in love today as the day they met.

Unlike me, my parents, at age nineteen, were grown-ups.  Whether or not they were much different than me at that age, they were of a generation from whom it was expected that at age nineteen, you are an adult, and you better darn well act like it.  Wanting to be an adult at nineteen, or even being expected to act as one, was not true for me. My husband and I got married when we were 26, not old by today’s standards at all, and I was barely functioning as an adult then.

What about my kids?  I'm not thrilled with the idea of them growing up.  YET.  My friends with teenagers tell me that will change.  My daughter says she will never leave home, that she will live in the house next door when she grows up, and if we move, she will find us and move into the house next door to THAT house.  She threatens me with this.  I tell her that she has to be 40 before she is married, and that I won’t watch her animals when she goes on vacation.

My children know that I don’t really want them to grow up.  I press down on their heads and tell them to stop growing.  I like them as children because they are fun and loving and smart, and they make me feel young.   I probably am doing something gravely wrong by telling them not to grow up until they are 40.  Whatever.  All I know is that when they are 40, my husband and I will be 70, and I hope that when they tell people our ages, they will be amazed at how young we are.

photo credit


  1. I agree, it's just a number... We got married when we were 19 too...and I still had a blast. And I will shamelessly admit that I glee filled...when I get looks of shock when I tell people I have a 15 year old daughter, and that I did NOT get knocked up, and in fact had been married for 3 years before I intentionally got pregnant!! hee hee! :D

  2. Nineteen is so young. I definitely didn't know who I was at nineteen, let alone anyone I should have been with. I'm a slow learner.