Path to Adulthood

By Katiedid Langrock

September 5, 2015 5 min read

I'm not good with titles.

I don't know the difference between "your highness" and "your majesty," between corporal and lieutenant, between serial killer and clown or between sadist and ice-cream truck driver (you know who you are!), and it just gets worse from there. Heck, I'm so bad with titles that I'm still not sure what my name is. Some call me Did. Some call me Katie. Some call me Katiedid. And a few special folks call me Willard Scott, Peaches, Wombat and Kay-Kay-the-Pretty-Bug-Dance-All-Day-Day. I'm fairly noncommittal about the whole thing. As I said, I'm not good with titles.

I especially struggle when it comes to titles that are meant to act as identifiers of who I am.

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary, but the titles "husband" and "wife" still make me squeamish. There is something too formal about the terms — too ... adult. I most often refer to my husband as "the dude." And me, a wife? Nah. Shouldn't I be more domestic or more successful or more obedient or more disobedient or more ... something before that term applies to me? I have never once been in possession of a ball and chain, and I still don't know the difference between Mrs. and Ms. A real wife should know these things! Right?

Speaking of a title's feeling too adult, it doesn't feel as if the term "adult" applies to me, either. I still use "adult" as something to differentiate us from them — the "them" being the adult population. Meaning not us. Meaning not me! Shouldn't I have more wisdom and fewer wisdom teeth? (I really need to get those pulled.) Sure, I've been able to vote for 15 years, but I'm more on the path toward adulthood than actually at the destination, right?

I have been called a writer, but I have yet to see my Oscar or Pulitzer on my mantel. I've been called an American, but I have yet to eat barbecue. I'm not a hiker, because I could never do Mount Everest. I'm not a camper, because I would die on "Naked and Afraid." Day one: death — naked, naked death.

Even titles that I have bestowed on myself, such as backpacker, feel disingenuous. During those accumulated years I was abroad, I would salivate over other travelers' backpacks, admiring how small they were, how tightly packed — admonishing myself for that unnecessary extra pair of socks. I bet even Shari Lewis left her socks at home when traveling, and hers sang songs! Sure, they were super-annoying, never-ending songs, but my socks can't do that. Stupid socks.

I realize that all these titles given to me — wife, writer, Queen of the Platypuses and Popcorn Pixies — don't feel applicable because I am waiting for some accomplishment to warrant them. When I have a solid 401(k) and come to terms with my gray hairs, I will be an adult. When I build a tent out of fig leaves, I'll be a camper. And when I can impersonate Larry the Cable Guy, I'll be American.

There is only one title that I easily embrace as an identifier: Mommy.

It didn't happen overnight. I remember wondering in those early months after my son was born whether the name "Mom" would forever feel foreign or fraudulent as all the other supposed identifiers in my life do. I was scared I would never feel right in the role, that I would never earn the title. But it came. Not after an accomplishment or achievement but slowly, over time. So slowly that I didn't even notice it, until one day it was here. I was a mom. I use the title without flinching. I feel pride when others refer to me as a mom. And I love it when my boy calls me "Mommy."

My baby girl is due next month, and our little family will be complete. What a joy it is to embark on a new adventure already feeling secure in my role, in my title. How lovely to have an identifier that can't be taken away. (Apparently, there is no such thing as a platypus popcorn pixie queen.)

I still haven't decided what I want my exact title to be — Mom, Mama or Mommy. But as with the three variations of my first name, it doesn't matter what you call me. It simply is what I am. My name is Katie/Did/Katiedid, and I'm a mom/mommy/mama.

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