Peter Pan has always been and will always be a hero of mine. It seems like no matter what I'm going through, it's still the story of my life. I can always relate to it, and can always watch it, whether it's the 1953 Disney cartoon, the 2003 remake, the Mary Martin's NBC film, Cathy Rigby on Broadway or homages like the biopic "Finding Neverland".
I've been writing, talking and thinking about my life a lot lately. It's changed dramatically in recent years. Brooklyn grabbed a frame yesterday that holds the earliest picture of Brandon and me together- taken 8 years ago, 2 years before we ever started dating.
Man. If someone had walked up to us that day at camp and said, "Hey- did you know in 7 years you two will have a baby together?" I would have laughed, and been terrified.
Since that first picture, I got kicked out of a high school class for something I didn't do, spent every day 4th period in in-school-suspension, got a secret cat (see previous post "On the Love of Cats" for that one) I moved out of my house, had a very damaging relationship with a guy who, in all honesty, is actually a very good person, got four more piercings and a tattoo, broke up with the guy, went to college, got involved in church again, got engaged, got married, graduated, moved to Houston, became a teacher, got pregnant, graduated again, had a baby, and that baby is turning 1 year old one month from tomorrow.
Intense, right? People who know me have said things like, "Wow Tracey, you've really grown up".
No. Not grown up. I am willing to admit that I am an adult, but never call me a grown up.
The difference? Adults have responsibilities, take care of business, and conduct themselves in a worthy manner. Adults are just older people- not kids or teenagers anymore. Adults do what needs to be done. Adults work for what they need. They know it's not all play.
Grown ups do all of that, but none of it's play. Think about it: when younger siblings get on their brothers' or sisters' nerves, the older one shouts, "Grow up already!" When Jenny asked Forrest what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, "Aren't I going to be me?" Annette Bening's character, Carolyn, from "American Beauty" is what I think of when I hear the words 'grown-up'. She yells, she keeps a spotless house, she acts perfect though her life is far from it, all of this prompting her husband to ask, "When did you become so joyless?"
I understand why so many adults are immature, earning remarks from others like, "Why don't they act their age?" It's because when we 'act our age' it implies that we lose our joy, our happiness, our love for life and for everything around us.
I want to be a good wife and good mommy. There's a lot to that. It's the reason why the "Interests" on my profile page says, "Maintaining a balance between doing what needs to be done and what matters". What needs to be done? Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, feeding the baby, washing bottles, making the bed, showering. What matters? Playtime. Loving my life, not just checking off a list everyday. There's a reason why loving and living are only one letter apart. They are almost the same, and "I" make the difference. Yes, we all need to learn how to take care of ourselves and keep up with our responsibilities. We can't just go with the flow and hope that life turns out right, we have to work at it. But in the end, my hero is still Peter Pan, who gleefully sings, "I won't grow up. I don't want to wear a tie or a serious expression in the middle of July. And if it means I must prepare to shoulder burdens with a worried air, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!"
This is my tattoo. Second star to the right, and straight on til morning. That's how you get to Neverland, where you never have to grow up. You notice, there are adults in Neverland. The Indian Chief, the pirates... you could even argue that the mermaids are adults. But they play. That's the difference.
No one tell me I'm a grown up, because it's not true. No matter how many "grown up" things I do, it only means I'm a responsible adult. For every responsible act I take, an accent and a goofy face is around the corner. For every item checked off my daily checklist, it's a dance in the living room. For every piece of work, there's a piece of fun. And that's what "grown ups" just don't get.
If Peter Pan were a real person, I'd like to think he'd really like me. I think he would want me to stay in Neverland and be a mother to the lost boys. Someone who was an adult figure, the voice of reason, who also wanted to join in on the fun adventures.
Some people think tattoos are wrong. Some think they're just stupid because they think you're going to regret them later in life. Not me. Every time I look at mine, I see a reminder to always take time to play, and never take myself too seriously. Because after all, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it". -Ferris Bueller, modern day Peter Pan.