Years ago I remember, clearly, becoming an adult.
It wasn’t when I turned 18 or when I legally bought beer or when I lost virginity or when I voted. It wasn’t getting married or owning a house or even having kids. I hit the hard wall and realization of adulthood when I employed and paid a babysitter to take care of my child. There in that moment I was admitting to myself not only that I was a parent, but that any, even temporary, relief from such associated duties required me to hire, invite to my home, and potentially drive back to their place of residence, the child of some other parent. It was bizarre and unanticipated — a thing that so clearly demarcates adults from carefree youth.
But now there’s a new layer that’s even worse. It was less of a hard wall than a slow, eery sinking in quicksand.
Now, about 5 minutes later, I am the one who delivers my own child to take care of other children whose parents are realizing that they are grown up. So, in some way I’m of a whole new generation, and this happened all much more quickly than my transition into adulthood. Apparently now I’m not merely an adult, but an old person, with children who take care of other children of adults. And I’m not sure what to make of this, except to just hold on.