I knew I was a grown-up at age 22

Once a month we have a blogging challenge. We are assigned a topic and 60 minutes to write and publish a post. Here is tonight's topic:

“Write about the first time you felt like you were a grown-up.”

Being a grown-up, an adult, was something I never particularly yearned for nor avoided; I knew it was just part of life like being a teenager.  I guess I thought it would be an announced moment and as it turned out, it almost was. I knew I was a grown-up at age 22, here's how it all happened.

My parents paid for all four years of college, they were happy to do this as my mother had never had the opportunity and my father had worked and then utilized the GI Bill to get his degree. They also made it known that we got one year at home after college, after that we were on our own.

This seemed pretty sensible to me and I even told my own children the same thing. I did not toy with the idea of taking off a year to travel or find myself. I knew I had one year to get my life worked out.

I graduated from U of Illinois in May and found a job teaching summer school for $6.70 an hour. I was completely thrilled. It was about 45 minutes away from my parents' house.

My parents gave me $200.00 as my graduation present which I used to put a down payment on a Toyota Corolla. At the time it was the cheapest car you could mathews004buy in America at the bargain price of $2711.00. My father cosigned the loan for me and I drove to work each day, you can see it here when it was being decorated later that year.

That same summer I got a full time teaching job which paid me $8900.00 a year; I was rich beyond my wildest dreams. I can remember these figures because they were all firsts, I no longer know how much anything costs!  I got engaged and dreamed of buying a sewing machine for myself.

Before school started in the fall, I made my own wedding dress. My Mom paid for the fabric which seemed as it should be to me. My parents never gave me an allowance but they paid for all my clothes.

The wedding dress project did not leave much time for sewing work clothes so my Mom announced we should go shopping for teacher outfits. I picked out two polyester pant suits and I felt very professional in them. I got two matching blouses for each one and we went up to the cashier. (I wore those pantsuits once a week for years, not only to work but to my bridal showers as you can see in this photo.)mathews002

The saleslady announced the total and my mother and I both stood there. She said to me, I am not paying. I was flabbergasted.

I don't remember how I paid as I didn't have a credit card. Not until I got married did I have one and that had to be in my husband's name. I probably wrote a check, using a chunk of the money I was saving for a sewing machine.

When we got home my mom and I had a huge fight. She was irritated that I had expected her to pay after debt free college, an upcoming wedding and me being employed. I was speechless that I had inherited this responsibility without any warning.

We were both crying and hurt. She felt that I did not appreciate having a college degree, something she always wanted. She said to me, you are grown up now and will pay your own bills.

I remember sobbing with all the self pity I could muster up. I choked out, but maybe I don't feel ready to be grown up. Yeah, I was ridiculous but we made up, mathews003here we are in my suit at a shower.

That was it, I realized the next day. I was a grown up and I had to make my own way in the world with a generous start provided by my parents. From that day on I never doubted that I was an adult, grown up.

I often told this story to my girls and even had a timeline for them as to what costs they would be assuming when. I hated that fight I had had with my Mom and I didn't want to repeat it with my daughters.

When my older daughter was moving out and on her own she looked at me and said jokingly, but maybe I don't feel ready. We laughed and I knew that not only had my mom made me grow up, I had prepared my daughter as well.

Still and all, wouldn't it be great to have someone else buy your clothes?

Sew happy!

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I published previous post about my mom teaching me a lesson at a fabric store. You can read it here.

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Tags: grown up

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at QuiltingSewingCreating@gmail.com

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