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We’re Big Kids Now

There’s a part of me that never wants to grow up. My inner child is both stubborn and resilient. She likes SpaghettiOs for dinner and milk-soaked Oreos for dessert. Perhaps that little girl in me is why I’ve been unexpectedly nervous about a big change happening this week. My husband and I are moving from a one-bedroom condo to a more-than-one-bedroom house.

This move, in some strange way, confirms I am a real grownup. A twenty-something, married, house-owning grownup who should really trade those spaghettios for a kale-infused smoothie.

We’re going to have house guests and deliver muffins to our neighbors. We’ll place one of those “welcome” mats at our front door. We’re going to have extra linens and towels and nice china we’ll rarely use.

Our current condo is cozy and comforting. Maybe it feels a bit cluttered and imperfect. But the imperfections have felt appropriately “newlywed-ish.”

I’ve been sorting through piles of old notebooks and photos, finding everything from childhood teddy bears to high school love letters.

‘My parents were right, life keeps getting better.’

In an old journal of sorts from elementary school, I had listed my dreams of going to college. Writing books. Becoming a doctor. I just wanted a stethoscope. Marriage. Owning a frog farm— if there’s such a thing. Having children. I even proceeded to list my future children’s first, middle and last names. I told you I’m a planner, right?

A certain page caught my attention. I had written, “I want to stay little, because I think you have more fun when you’re little, things get a lot harder.”

Even at the mere age of 8, my inner child was preparing to hang on through adulthood. I probably liked Play-Doh and Polly Pockets too much to bear the thought of growing up.

In the same box, I found a journal entry from my older self, when I was working as a news anchor in Missouri. I had written, “My parents were right, life keeps getting better.”

Indeed, life does continue to get better. Sure, my responsibilities are bigger and my heartaches sting deeper. But even my once-happiest days continue to be outdone by new, happier days.

I know many of those days lie ahead— in our new home— with SpaghettiOs in the pantry and kale in the fridge.