April 15, 2012

Lesson 1: A New Definition of Adolescence

I recently heard that there is a new definition of adolescence, encompassing people from ages 10-30. Children are getting older faster and “grown-ups” are staying young longer. This new adolescence applies even to twenty-year-olds who have jobs, are married, and have children.

This information totally resonated with me. As a 27-year old woman, married for three years and the mother of two, I have always felt this obligation to feel old, to be old. I’m a grown-up, right! I am responsible for the lives of two real people and shaping who they are going to become. Yet, I do not feel like a grown-up.

The majority of my high school and college girlfriends live very different lives from me … many still single, living it up in big cities, looking gorgeous (no post-pregnancy awkward body changes). The few that are married work full-time alongside their husbands, and only two have children. Well, technically, one has a baby … the other is pregnant!

I truly believe most college graduates experience a very strange reality after completing their schooling. Within my own various groups of friends, it did not matter whether one moved home, moved to a different city, took a great job, didn’t have a job, entered grad school, got married, broke up with their boyfriend, were people of faith, or had no religion at all … all went through this period of growing pains. I attribute it to being the first time in our lives when there was not someone telling us what the next step was. It didn’t matter if you took off for Colorado to work as a lift operator and ski every day. It didn’t matter if you worked in a touristy restaurant at night, so you could spend the whole day at the beach. The responsibility for your choices fell upon you, and that was weird!

I’ve concluded that people in my generation grow past this uncertain period when they come to grips with the fact that they really don’t know, and decide to just get on with it.

I was just home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a wedding, the third out of a group of twelve girls. I had multiple conversations with my beautiful, successful, confident friends, all of whom were totally freaked out by the idea of marriage (even though some had pretty awesome boyfriends as dates). I spent the night shelling out advice on the matter: make sure you agree on the big things … and then make a commitment to get on with it. Decide that you are going to stick it out with this person and live each day … one day at a time … doing just that.
It’s easy for me to give such advice, because I am an expert on the matter. Oh wait, I’m pretty sure the title of this blog is “I Don’t Have a Clue.” Yes, yes, it is. I am new to this marriage thing. I’ve been told by a friend of mine that she didn’t really start to know her spouse (and realize how irritating he was) until she was married six years! Ahhh! Married people … don’t get comfortable. Keep working at it!
Regardless, though we have only been officially entwined for three years, my husband and I have battled a few storms together. We received the joyful (and shocking news) that I was with child about a month after our wedding. This sweet girl ended up being delivered seven weeks early, due to medical complications with me. She spent a month in the NICU, and during this time, I underwent three surgeries: an emergency C-section, a removal of a tumor in my adrenal gland, and stomach surgery to stop crazy bleeding. The whole “in sickness and in health” vow was put to the test pretty quickly for us. We then moved south, to Charlotte, NC to start graduate school at Reformed Theological Seminary. Two years later brought another move, even souther (not a word according to spellcheck), to Clover, SC and another baby, this time a boy!
With my first child, I was recovering from my sickness (cushing) at the same time I was becoming a new mom. Thus, most of those things new mom’s worry about, I didn’t really have time to think about. First bonding moment? I didn’t meet my daughter until twelve hours after she was born, because my pain meds were making me crazy. First baby-sitter anxiety? A day after she got home from the NICU, I was back in the hospital for ten days with a bleeding stomach, leaving my mother and my mother-in-law to care for my 5lb preemie. Baby experiencing neglect because mom doesn’t answer every cry? I cannot even count how many (loud) cries I slept through. And the list goes on. The moral of this story is: she has survived and she’s awesome.
However, my experience with baby number two has been completely different! I had a healthy, happy pregnancy, delivered the normal way (with the aid of some medication), and brought my son home two days later.

A shift has occurred within me, and for the first time, I really feel like a mom. It could be that having two children requires different kinds of interaction: I’m teaching one to read and the other to sleep. It could be that 27 seems like a normal age to be a mom, not too young, not too old. It could be that I have 14 pregnant friends from various stages in life and so soon, I will not feel like the only mom out there. Regardless, putting all of this together … I have come to grips with the fact that life is full of uncertainties, feel like I can at least face those uncertainties as I accept my role as the mother of two, wife of one … and yet, back to the adolescence discussion, I don’t really have a clue what I am doing!

Thus, we have finally come to point of the creation of this blog! I’m an educated woman, who reads a lot, and I have been learning a ton lately! In our last move, we inherited weekly issues of TIME and Entertainment magazines. I also had a friend give me bags of magazines from the fall ranging from Southern Lady to Good Housekeeping to Redbook. At eight months pregnant, not wanting to move much, I devoured them. Reading current publications catches one up-to-date on current issues, and I have had conversations ranging from politics, to disciplining children, to nutrition and exercise, to gardening, to cleaning, to investments.

A lot of this is new for me!

These are topics that grown-ups are expected to understand and be knowledgeable on, but there is a time when a person actually has to learn it all in order to be knowledgeable on it. So, this blog is going to document one grown-up adolescent’s journey into full-fledge adulthood. Hopefully, as I learn, I can help educate you as well (and help me remember what I was talking about last week! A baby and a toddler can make you forgetful).

Lesson Learned: Being ok with saying, "I don't have a clue," is the first step to getting a clue. (I'm convinced of this.)


  1. Katherine, I love it! You are so well spoken and entertaining to read. As a mom of a ten month old married just shy of 4 years I think your blog will help to put all of us in this boat at ease. Keep writing!

    1. Enjoyed your first blog, Katherine! Keep it up! I just said to Dave (my husband of almost 33 years!!) the other evening upon making a stop at Starbucks, "Buying coffee at Starbucks makes me feel like a grown-up!" I think we all are working our way thru adolescence, on one level or another. Nancy

  2. Loved it, Katherine! Keep it up, honey :)

  3. Thanks ya'll! I think I'm going to make a 3 month commitment and see how it goes. The goal is about three posts a week (maybe more if I have LOTS to talk about)!

  4. Love it kath... I am even reading to b...


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