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Growing up Rosey

Sometimes, if someone were to ask me my age, I may quickly respond with a number between 18 and 22. And then I remember I'm now 31 and between me and my teenage years is a decade of the good, the bad and every growing pain in between.

My family loves to reminisce and like many, sees the past through rose colored glasses. We can all talk for hours about remember when. Most of us, who are lucky, may see the majority of their childhood this way. When life gets complicated or hard I wish that I could go back to being a kid. But I've forgotten just how hard being a kid was. One thing these days I don't worry about is who I am and what I stand for. I'm comfortable in my skin. I don't need to look like anybody else, do what anybody else likes or say what anybody else wants me to say. I have much to worry about these days but none of these are concerns on my list.

It's taken me a long time to feel secure with who I am. Life comes at me so fast I often forget that it took me 20 years to get to this point. Because I so often look at the past with the pretty, tinted lenses, I forget about the awkward and uncomfortable parts of growing up.

My cousin visited me this weekend and amidst running after little ones and ratting out our spouses for not doing the laundry, we fit in a few of those great childhood memories. After one story, her husband asked if she was really the diva-like, southern belle of our family's legend. The answer is yes, she was and that's who I loved as a kid. And I was the conforming non-conformist feminist. And she loved me for who I was. I grew up in liberal Massachusetts and she in the birthplace of Wal-Mart. She woudn't leave the house without makeup and I had purple hair. She had a drawl and I said wicked about things that weren't evil. We were products of our particular regions and while creating our own unique identities, we hid among the masses. For the last fifteen years we may have voted for opposing politicians and chosen different goals for ourselves but we have, more or less, gone through the same things at the same time and our growing pains have always kept us close.

Now we sit across from one another being our own unique selves, by-products of our upbringing and our hometowns. Yet, in our individuality we find ourselves very similar. Our political, religious and parenting views aren't all that different. Sure, we don't see eye to eye on everything but we have softened in our old age. As teens we spend so much time trying to be different like everyone else and as we get older we realize that while we are different, we are just like everyone else. And that's ok. My cousin and I are moms, sisters, friends, spouses, workers and cousins. We both recycle and shop at Wal-Mart and even if I were to take my off my glasses I would still see the two of us, now and then, with a happy, rose tint.

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