Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Growing Up

My Mister (who is wonderful) has been having discussions with his brothers about upcoming vacations. In their family, (off road) motorcycle riding is a big deal, and most (if not all) of the camping trips revolve around "rides".

The youngest of the brothers, who is married with a fairly new baby, made the following comment in an email: Let's talk about who this vacation is for. It is a vacation for our family to disrupt the blidge of daily living. I go to school from 7:45 am till about 5 pm everyday. I work twenty hours a week. Every other time I have avaliable is spent with my family. I love to play with my little girl and talk to my wife and be with her. I see them everyday!!! Is that bad? Do I love to see them everyday? Of course I do, but the point of the vacation is to have a break from that daily routine. Why in the world would I go [on vacation] to do the exact the same thing I do at home. I want to ride my motorcycle and go to the river and swim and have fun around the campfire.

My Mister LOVES to go riding with his brothers. I think that there are very few things which rate above that particular activity, but after reading that email from his brother, he was a little irritated. Little brother needs to grow up. Fun with brothers is great, and I try to encourage appropriate amounts of that sort of activity, but not at the expense of my sanity or my children's time with their dad.

I'm not all that old (although sometimes I feel otherwise), but I can see over the last 10 years or so what "growing up" means. I appreciate my parents even more for all the sacrifices they made for me. As a child, the world revolves around you and what you want (or what you don't get). As you get older, you realize that you have to sacrifice your own wants in order to fulfill your responsibilities.

We can't live "college life" forever, no matter how hard we want to hold on to that time in our life. I loved college. There was always something going on, something to "do", and everything was about having fun with relatively few responsibilities (that's leaving out the actual school, homework, and job part, but I managed to fit those in and still have plenty of fun). I have a friend who didn't get married as early as I did. She is now done with her MSW and is working on getting her LCSW certification. I'm envious. Part of me would like to be there, but that's something I sacrificed because I wanted other things in my life. There will be a time for those things later.

Little brother is obviously still in the egocentrism part of his development. We all go through it. Some people just have a harder time moving on than others. For his wife's sanity, I hope he figures it out soon. Family vacations are not so much fun if the "men" go off and leave the wives at camp to tend the children.

Sometimes you just have to grow up (and you just might find that being a grown up has it's very own set of perks and amusements).

5 comments:

WP said...

Could not agree more. I would like to suggest that over time in the natural evolution of one's life I have found the "perks and amusements" of being a grandfather about the best thing in life, not just with my three and soon to be five boys, but with all of you. I enjoy the relationship I have with my grown children equally and their spouses or partners. I miss and recall with joy the things we all did as a young family, those more primative camping days and trips in the VW bus. There is much truth to the notion in old age of rejoicing and having joy in your posterity...

M.A. said...

I hope this doesn't make me look like an ogre, but I appreciate his sentiment. For me, growing up has not meant giving up all of my personal time and interests. I don't think there is anything noble or responsible in devoting the entirety of ones' selfhood to others. My ability to help others owes a great debt to the wholeness of my self.

I hope you'll pardon the clumsy attempt at cultural analysis here, but it does seem that there is an interesting phenomenon in LDS culture (at least here in Utah). Devoting oneself to others is supremely valued, especially among women. Part of a boy's ascension into manhood seems to involve tossing away personal time and interests, and he is seen as immature and selfish if he values personal activities. Women, however, are generally expected not to have personal interests, or that their families are somehow to be considered a "personal interest." It seems to fall to the wives to "keep the boys in line," as if we are some kind of mother proxy. Which gives us more work to do, less time for ourselves. As if women are somehow better or more capable. To this I say, "pouah!" That's just a convenient way to avoid having to work! Ok, my ire is up a little. I guess what I'm saying is personal interests are good! For husbands AND wives. Shared responsibility! Valuing of togetherness as well as separateness.

Sorry...I got a little out of control there. :-)

Allie said...

I wasn't suggesting that he give up his interests, I haven't given up my interests (although some of them are put on hold a bit).

I'm just saying that sometimes you have to give up SOME things when you CHOOSE other things.

The men all go riding in moab, for instance, usually twice a year. That is a weekend of riding with no other obligations, so why should a FAMILY vacation also be turned into a "riding" only vacation.

Don't give up your interests or entertainment, but don't sacrifice your family's happiness so that you can keep living like your choices don't directly affect anyone else.

(I do understand what you mean, I just don't think it applies in this particular situation.)

WP said...

m.a. and allie, for several decades I have enjoyed the center stage of Church responsibility in our relationship. You mother has and was devoted to supporting me and picking up all the loose ends because I was off to some meeting or enterprise. Probably one of the healthiest things that has happened is our transfer from our Gringo ward to the Rama. She now, for the first time, is engaged and involved in a higher profile position and level of activity than I. Because of the extra time she spends devoted to her duties, relatively speaking, she has expressed concern to me that she is giving less of her 'selfhood' to me. (She may be feeling some guilt here.) She need not. I welcome the opportunity of cooking more of my own dinners and washing the dishes. I am happy for her, for this opportunity and role reversal. I have expressed this to her but the paterns in her genes have been deeply impressed.

Mi vida es muy buena!

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