My mother and I take a pilates class together on Fridays. (We seem drawn to making fools of ourselves.) Last week after class, while I gathered my things, my mom shared with our instructor that she had had the four of us kids pretty close together, and that now we’re 23, 22, 19, and – “my baby just turned 18.”
The instructor gestured in my direction and asked, “Is she your baby?”
Funny you should ask that. She happens to be the eldest.
I’m commonly taken for a teenager, so I question myself from time to time on why this seems to bother me. I think it boils down to trying very hard to act like a grownup, feeling like an imposter of a grownup, and realizing that nobody is buying the act.
Mostly I’d just like to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day without being asked whether the local high school has the day off, or if my mother knows I’m there.
I comfort myself by imagining this scene in 20 or 30 years: Mom still feels free to tell our ages. And I am still the baby.