Mommy, wow! I’m a big kid now

Approximately 18 years ago, that jingle applied to me in the way its writer intended. Thankfully, I do not still wear pull-ups, but today the phrase applies again — in an entirely different way.

It’s safe to say, for real, that I’m a big kid now. Or, rather, an adult.

Yesterday, I drove myself to an airport for the first time. I picked up a rental car for the first time. I, myself, checked into a hotel for the first time and stayed in said hotel alone for the first time.

But today was even bigger. Today I looked at six apartments, picked one and applied to live there. I found a new home. I drove to my new workplace and scoped it out.

All that was also by myself.

Of course, my mom and I talked over what I was looking for in advance, and she wanted and received texted updates constantly throughout the day. And I had a wonderful woman showing me around to the various apartments. But, ultimately, the decision was on me. I was the only one actually seeing the places, and I was the only one saddled with the pressure of choosing my future home. Which is good, because I’m the only one who — literally — has to live with the decision. And I wanted to make it for myself.

These are all the first steps on the path to my life as a “real adult.” That’s in quotes because I’ve been an adult, technically, for more than three years. And I’ve been living on my own, cooking for myself, paying my bills, managing my own life, etc. But at the same time, I’ve still been in college and partially dependent on my parents. I haven’t been earning a full-time income or living alone.

That all changes June 25 — when I officially move to Connecticut to start my job as an associate editor at ESPN The Magazine.

Thanks to this trip, I no longer have to say I’ve never been to this state. Unfortunately, I still can’t say I know anyone under the age of 40 here, but at least I won’t be homeless or I won;t get lost on my first trip to work.

Soon I’ll take another flight from St. Louis to Hartford — but this time the ticket will be one-way. Then I’ll move in by myself, unpack by myself, settle in by myself and get my bearings by myself.

It’s a lot to handle — all this independence. But my 3-year-old self can relate to that, too.

One of my dad’s favorite stories is of the time he and his toddler (that’s me) visited our then under-construction house. It was winter and icy, and he thought I should hold his hand so as not to fall. Well, big surprise, I said I could do it myself, and not 10 seconds after we started walking, I slipped and landed on my butt, on the ground, hard.

And now, here I go again, 18 years later, refusing to hold anyone’s hand.

Hopefully this time there won’t be any ice.

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