None of us believed it. We thought the adult behind such cynicism needed to eat a bagel or go to a Madonna concert.
My teenage years were spent pining for the day I could be married to that dad on 30 Something. I remember looking down at my nearly flat stomach while breathing through crunches, doing the math. "I'm 18 now, in 10 more years I will have a great job in the city (try Germantown), wear power suits and clickity heels (oh no Honey, Target cardigans and square toed flats for you), and be lifting my cherubs up over my head like a Pampers commercial (more like hyper-extending a knee while playing backyard soccer at 7:45 in the morning.).
Since getting married didn't happen until 28, the rest came a little later than my 18 year old self expected.
My twenties were spent living on a farm, back home for grad school, then in a shoebox sized house with the greatest roommates ever. Holy IHOP were those the best days. Working as a teacher by day, scuttling down to a DC studio by night, I busted my tail off but was rewarded with immediate results. Hey, I was an adult and lookie here, life was not that hard. Ha. I did it. I arrived in AdultWorld, bought a one-way ticket and still sang my heart out for 14 people who called me Dove. Yes, I had a stage name and it was Dove. Life was rich, sweaty, and delicious.
Then my thirties rocked me in the face: honeymoon over, military spouseness, moves, babies, hyperemesis, colic, solo parenting, more military moves, deployment (more solo parenting), hyper-sensitive children (ie: few play dates), misunderstandings, depression, sensory processing disorder pre-diagnosis (migraines, anxieties, roller coaster behavior), and feeling like my skin was the only thing holding me back from disappearing into desperate fatigue at night.
Aha. Here it is. I recognize you. The hard part.
But I stand before it, unafraid. Unbroken. Still playful.
Because when I was very little and when life was hard, playing worked.
I remember where to go in my gut to pull me through. I remember how far to dig to scrape for strength. I remember that I can keep going even when every ounce of my heavy chest wants to lie down and go to sleep forever.
Life is hard, check.
Life is hard for all of us.
Every single one of us.
Nobody over the age of birth has it easy.
The trick is to keep at it, throw on a good catwalk in your backyard in your worst yoga pants ever, and remember to keep playing.
A double chin only evens out the playing field.
So yes, while most of the time I'm overwhelmed, underdressed, over-anxious, understimulated, overworked, under-appreciated....
I still got my silly.
And I'm passing that sh*t on.
It comes in handy when you grow up.