You know how when you were little, you “played grown up?” And if you were anything like most girls born in the 80s, that meant pretending you were a twenty-something named Tiffany or Kelly who had a sweet ride (convertible obviously) and wore body suits. If you were also like me and my sister, you pretended Squeeze-Its were alcoholic. Our parents never drank in front of us, so we probably saw commercials of people drinking wine coolers and thought “yeah, that’s an awesome grown up life befitting of someone named Tiffany.”
If your older sister was anything like mine though (a shining beacon of moral high ground who was also a bossy denim-jumper-wearing know it all who you happened to worship) she would have told you that you, an innocent six-year-old, were clearly too young to pretend your Squeeze-It was booze, but that she and the neighbor, mature ten-year-olds were definitely old enough to do so. You were sad, but not sad enough to stop playing with them (duh!). So you sucked it up, and you channeled your inner grown-up strength and coolness and went about pretending to put fake keys in a fake ignition on the neighbor’s deck steps while you cruised the California coastline (where you were pretty sure the magical land called “Malibu” of Barbie fame was, but you weren’t one hundred percent) without ever leaving your Indiana subdivision.
Here’s the thing, I still feel like I’m pretending to be a grown up. I’ve given up on my name ever ending in a y, and I’m not interested in a convertible (I don’t have good hair for that), and my loving sister (who I still worship) would now encourage me to have a real alcoholic beverage, and I’m almost thirty two (which my six-year-old self would have thought was kinda old), but I still have this feeling I’m only playing at the whole thing. Maybe someday it will hit me. I’ll be smacked upside the head with some sort of adult knowing – a secret code of bill paying, schedule making, wine cooler drinking coolness.
Alas, today is not that day, and I don’t think I will ever look good in a body suit. So until then, I’ll keep playing at being a grown up by day (mainly for my kids’ sake), and relax into a state of I-don’t-know-anything-don’t-ask-me-questions-while-I-sneak-chocolate-after-the-kids are asleep by night (mainly for my sake).