Sometimes adulthood comes in stages. Sometimes it comes all at once, barreling down on you like a Mack truck. When my mom died, it seemed I grew up all at once. It didn’t matter that I was 23 and in college. I became an adult the night my mom went into the hospital, the moment the doctors told me it was a one-way trip with no turnaround spot. It was like waking up and seeing the world for the first time. I was not some cushioned, sheltered little girl who didn’t know how life really worked, but there are some things that just split your timeline into Before and After. If we’re fortunate, we have constants that help settle things into place — people and passions we turn to when our world is crumbling and no longer recognizable. If we’re strong, we’re able to settle those pieces ourselves; if we’re blessed, we know we don’t have to do it alone.
For now, adulthood comes in stages again. I say “again” because we never really “grow up.” We will never learn and feel all the world has to offer. We can only seek it until we can’t. So adulthood comes — smoothly at times, violently at others. So I’ll take the “small” victories, the happy accomplishments, the tottering steps toward maturity, because knowing they won’t all be celebratory makes celebrating just that much more important.