The Handbook


I believe it is high time we all stood up and gave the adults around us a round of applause. Why? Because they’re grown-ups!! And I don’t know about you, but being a grown-up is pretty tough stuff.

In the movie Sabrina, (the new one, with Harrison Ford in it) a fiance who is aware that she is trying to hang onto her betrothed asks him, “do you even know what marriage is?” The nervous man, caught off guard by the question, furrows his eyebrows and concentrates hard on the floor tiles while he slowly answers, “sure! It’s that thing where you hangout a lot and scratch each other’s backs and button each other’s hard to reach buttons.” While humorous as that answer is, how accurate it is in the way we think about being grown-ups when we are younger!

Being a grown-up in my mind as a child meant no school work. It meant being able to drive. There was a certain kind of freedom attached to the word and idea. Being the type-a that I am I was well aware that there would be responsibilities involved with being an adult, but as I approach that stage of life I realize just how little I actually comprehended of those responsibilities.

Once I heard one of my pastors give an illustration of how there was a severe storm in his area. He had experienced a minor surgical procedure earlier that day and was on meds for the pain while scouring the internet about the storm and tolerating his four children running and playing throughout their home. Panicked because of the storm and also a bit out of sorts with his normal calm, cool, and collectedness due to the drugs, he felt overwhelmed by the impending possible danger and was trying desperately to determine what to do to keep his family safe. While this was an illustration used to make his audience laugh at the time, something he pointed out has stayed with me. He said, there is no handbook to being an adult. There is no chapter that says, “When in a severe storm in a 2-story home in Maryland with 4 children, wife, dog and doped on meds.”

My husband and I moved to Rhode Island 3 weeks ago. We moved for a new job to this place where we know no one and have been excitedly anticipating the new adventure. What we did not appropriately anticipate was our vehicles breaking down one after the other for the course of 3 weeks. Our two vehicles are very old but have run fairly smoothly and all the repairs we have done on them have been relatively cheap. Our prayer has been that they would last us another 2 years. Our first day in Rhode Island, after driving from Texas, resulted in one of the vehicles breaking down. Fixed it. 3 days later the same vehicle broke down. Fixed it. 5 days later, same vehicle catches on FIRE while I am driving it.

Did you know that there is no chapter that says, “When the car catches on fire in a place you have never lived before with no friends or family and husband can’t get to you because he rode to work via carpool”?

There is no chapter that says, “How to get a new license in a new state when yours is about to expire but the DMV is only open during the hours you’re at work at your brand new job.”

There is no chapter that says, “How to get a job in a new place when you have a dumb-phone and unreliable vehicles.”

There is no grown-up handbook. Nothing that gives you all the answers. When life throws questions in your face, decisions that MUST be made and you’re all on your own to make them, there are no guidelines. And this is why I think it 100% necessary that we stand up and applaud those people that you consider to be awesome adults! In my feeble 22 year old opinion, my parents have surpassed any synonym of “awesome” that I could come up with. I find it fascinating that they not only kept me alive, but kept me alive, fed, and clothed along with 3 other children at the same time!! Incredible. 


I cannot even comprehend the number of tough decisions my parents have made during my lifetime that have caused my life to turn out so great. How did they know what they were doing?!? It amazes me how little we understand about adulthood until we realize we’re entering into it. It amazes me how I can be 22 years old and remember days of playing on the trampoline and running around the backyard with a hose on the swingset as if it were yesterday. I still feel like a 10 year old. I get silly to the point of annoying other people sometimes, I pitch fits when I don’t like things sometimes, and every now and then a good cry is necessary. I want someone to fix the physical and emotional hurts I feel with a kiss and a moment of cuddling, and I want an older authority to tell me the answers to my questions with confidence that they have the right answer, without saying “I don’t know”. 

It’s not the chores that I can’t handle. Those responsibilities I’ve learned. When to wash your sheets, vacuum the floor, do the dishes, put gas in the car etc… (if you don’t have answers to those…just get on pinterest!) It’s the bigger things that I didn’t know existed that I want a handbook for. And yet, people keep growing up and surviving and having babies and keeping them alive. 

When I got married I remember thinking about my feelings. My feeling was that I was 10 years old, not old enough to get married! And yet there I was, on the threshold of matrimony. And I remember the moment when I really began to grasp my mother’s views, thoughts, and feelings. I had no idea what I was doing to get married, move away, and be a grown-up. And that’s when I realized, neither did she. She didn’t know how to handle her daughter doing all of those things or how to handle only having 3 children at home. This was all new to her TOO. And neither one of us had the answers, we both just had to keep moving forward. So far we’ve both made it. But I did know something that she didn’t…I knew she would be splendid. I knew she would make the right choices and know all the right things to say and do because I’d been watching her do it right for 20 years. I’d been watching her be a grown-up for all that time. And in all that time she always seemed to do it right. Little did I know until that time that we were in the same boat. Moving forward, making decisions while holding our breath and praying it was the right one. 

So all you 20-somethings out there! You’d better stand up and give the generation before us an applause and thank them for being grown-ups so that we can have an inkling of how to do it ourselves!


A Grown-Up in Training



One thought on “The Handbook

  1. Kylee, this is awesome …..incredibly awesome!! You are such a gifted writer, so talented at painting a picture with your words!! Your Mama must be so very proud of you and the amazing human being you are. btw….CAR ON FIRE!?!?! WHILE you were driving it?!?! Yowzer! So glad you are okay! Miss you, Girlie!!

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