There are usually signs when a child officially transitions into the “growing up” phase, and I’m not talking about the obvious demon known as puberty. What I mean is through life’s little, not so precious moments. You know, the time when your parents first let you wear lip gloss, or when you open your first locker in the school without recess. The first time you realize that not all boys have cooties, or when you buy your first entirely pointless training bra for your triple A cups.
For me, I could never pinpoint the exact moment. Growing up isn’t a momentous occasion, it just happens piece by piece as teenage life slowy begins to pass you by. However, it wasn’t until last night when I looked in my rearview mirror, to my little sister in the back seat that I realized my first official growin up moment: my first pair of headphones. Gracey’s about to enter the “exciting” world of middle school, and she’s already got the makeup and boy experience under her belt, but it was only then that I recognized how she was truly growing up.
Headphones were a whole new world to me in the sixth grade, as I received my first ipod touch and had officially been deemed a cool kid. I was a writer of sorts, and pretty much wrote the next great predictable love novel at age twelve, so headphones were the gateway to a world that I had created for myself. However, maybe it was never about that. I became addicted to the passion that music had stirred for me, an eclectic wonder world filled with scenarios of my own exaggeration, and I didn’t have to be the next Taylor Swift to realize that.
In the midst of the locker thing, witnessing a kiss on the quad, finding my first cootie-less boy, headphones were the consistency. The more deep into the journey of adolescence I got, the more I believed my parents would never understand the world of ‘pre-teen, no one understands’ that I had created for myself. Headphones were the sign of ignorance to those who mattered most, and as I was singing along to Hot-100 with another sister, deep in her innocence, sitting in the front seat, I realized that the age of chaos and misunderstanding was upon them.
They’d soon wade into the thick of girl drama that I’d suspected to be the end of the world, and would be faced with the impression that no one cared if they screwed up once or twice. They’d realize that the people they wished would give a care about them wouldn’t give them a drop of attention, and that the parents they wished would disappear with the slam of a door or the plugging in of headphones would give all the cares in the world.
I was always a shy kid in school, and I don’t know if it was a different process for the captain of the cheerleading squad, but I do know this: everyone wishes once in their young days for the fleeting moments to flee, for the rush of growing up to envelop them in the full flesh responsibility that they’ll never be ready for.
“You’re missing out, Grace,” I taunted her from the front seat, bopping along to Timberlake’s latest. She looked up and gave me the eyeroll I was so infamous in making.
I’m about to bid adieu to the years of dependency, possibly traveling to the sunshine state with no ties and no money, the next phase of growing up. Yet, I’ll always look back to the headphone days, wishing I unplugged when my mother was playing her cheesy Christmas CDs, just a few years ago:
“You’re missing out, Trin-Trin.”