I suppose it’s how I was raised.
My mother was a deeply involved parent, in contrast to my biological father, who was totally absent. While I did have a stepfather for roughly 18 years, we were never close. Mom was the glue that held the whole enterprise together.
She had been through a lot in her life. A high school drop-out, married at 16, physically abused by three of her four husbands, a mother of two children, working as a female electrician for minimum wage in the “all-boys” club of a mobile home factory with no heat or air conditioning (that means something if you have ever experienced Alabama humidity in August).
I have vivid memories of being awakened at 5 AM on school mornings to be dropped off at the grandparent’s house because mom’s work bell rang at 6 AM and even a 15-minute deduction in pay could make an already struggling budget that much tighter.
She labored in a brutal environment, was sexually harassed by her male supervisor (I mean legit harassment, not the “other” kind), cooked dinner, washed laundry, did homework, threw the football with me (at least tried to), repaired cars, and showed up to basketball games.
She took care of sick kids, disciplined bad attitudes, showed us unconditional love, and made sure the only five days of vacation she had all year were the best couple of days we’d ever had.
All without saying a word.
Or seeking approval.
Or lamenting how “exhausted” she was.
She just handled it.
So I guess that’s why I have a visceral reaction when people look for applause on Facebook because they paid their car insurance on time. Or they mowed the lawn, and we are supposed to tell them how “brave” they are. Or their child got a stomach virus, and now they need three weeks off work to recover from one sleepless night.
I get it. Life can be tough. It can beat you senseless sometimes.
But man alive, can’t we just… you know… handle it?
And handle it with a maturity where we don’t have to tell the world in hopes of getting enough blue thumbs up that somehow we feel comforted?
Honestly, life is not harder now than in the past. On the contrary, our lives are the most comfortable, convenient, and easiest of any generation before us.
Life is not harder.
We are just softer.
What we view as huge leaps of emotional development a previous generation called just another Tuesday.
“Adulting” is not a verb – it’s not something you do.
Being an adult is something you are… or aren’t.
Based simply on whether or not we can handle it.
And there’s no doubt, you most certainly can.