When I wake up, I bet I heard my mom yelling at me for sleeping in. But then the reality takes over my dreams. Mom's not here. The reality hits like a stab in the stomach. All I can do is take it in.
My roommate greets me with a grin in the kitchen. Some Spanish show is blaring on the TV. My dishes are still in the sink. Those have been there for so long because no one has told me to do the dishes. I sigh turning on the faucet. Growing up is all about responsibilities.
It's not doing your dishes because you'll lose your access to wifi for an entire day otherwise. It's doing it because you won't have anything to eat from otherwise.
Waking up early is not about pleasing your mother and giving her a reason to let you go out. It's about running errands that your life literally depends on.
Curfews are not for your parents to stop worrying about your safety, but you worrying about yours.
Having a job is not about saving money, it's about spending it.
I curse myself for choosing to grow up so fast all the while doing my grown up responsibilities.
"Oh, I'm going out to the party tonight. You coming?" My roommate shouts to make herself audible over the noise from the TV.
"Heck, yeah," I say.
Did I mention growing up is having fun and being free?

By aisha, November 23, 2016.

All I have left now is a jacket. I zip it up, pull up the hood. I tuck my knees to my chest.
It never feels warm enough. The thick fabric can never compete with my mother's hugs. She was my blanket that shielded me from the coldness, the heartless world. When I'd be falling to my knees, she'd be my crutch. She always made me stand strong.
Every time the coldness stabs on my leg, I fall now. Yes, I take the blows and no, I cannot stay on my foot. It brings me down to my knees.
I cry, but no one tells me it'll be okay. I wait for that tight embrace, but it's only the coldness that brushes on my skin. Everything I've ever known is on the other end of the world, and I've made my own decision to leave them there. It never occurred to me that growing up will feel like this.
Then I get up. I fight back.
"I'm a grown up," I tell myself.

By aisha, November 23, 2016.

There is part of growing up that is genuine, and part that disguises the greatest pain we can ever know. To take account of one's actions is growth; to protect others instead of being selfish is growth; to react to disaster with calm thought and decisive leadership is growth. The rest is a mental dislocation, a way to protect the developing brain from hurt it can't deal with. We aren't wired to watch our world be destroyed; we aren't born with the capacity to watch others suffer and do nothing to help; we aren't supposed to be herded like sheep with minds of dull compliance. As we grow we see problems we are told can't be fixed and so our minds break a little, removing the pain for our own protection.

Small children can't see suffering without suffering also and neither should we be able to. We didn't grow up, we got damaged. Being "hard" to suffering and environmental destruction isn't a sign of strength but a form of mental illness most adults carry. "Strength" is what it takes to see the world as it is through the eyes of a child, perhaps that's the final stage of growing up.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), September 30, 2015.

I have all the bad habits Todd worked seven years to loose. I eat the crap, drink the alcohol and treat women like they have an expiry date. He was just like that when we were eighteen. It was a lot of fun. We got drunk, arrested and arrested while drunk. We chatted up the girls and cooked up get-rich-quick schemes. Bit by bit he changed though. It started with exercise and finished with proposing to Kim. Now he's all set to be the responsible husband, the bread winner. I'm like a permanent case of the flu to him and he knows he's only two personal disasters away from catching it again. I tried to cut him out for his own good, let him have the picket fence life he needs. But apparently that's not an option. Last fall I lost my job again, he paid my rent and put in a good word to get me in at the docks. It's good money. So now whatever happens it looks like I'm gonna be “Uncle Frank” to Todd's kids, I guess I'll just have to try not to be too bad of an example.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), January 29, 2015.

I guess I'm growing up. As a child I needed protection more than I could to protect others, I guess that's the natural way of things - to need guidance until we can walk on our own. For a while I did walk on my own, striking my own path, and you know what? It was lonely. Now I am grown I walk with you, wanting and needing to protect you as much as you protect me. Perhaps that's what growing up really means, loving so much you become a guardian instead of either the guarded or the loner. Together is better, together is strong. You give me the wisdom to know when to follow, the courage when I must lead, and the heart to stay true when the waters get rough. I won't leave again. Home is where the heart is and mine can no longer be separated from yours.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), September 15, 2015.

The girl is like a snapshot out of time. I can see her chestnut hair blowing in the spring breeze, her youthful face turned toward the sun. Though her feet are scarred she still dances, dances like the joy of life within her cannot be tamed. In that purple shirt and jeans she could be anyone, no-one. But to me she is the world itself and without her I cannot enjoy a simple flower or the rising sun. There is nothing I wouldn't do to keep her safe from harm, but I cannot protect her forever. I can only be there when she falls and stand well back while she reaches for the stars.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), February 4, 2015.

Growing up has been such a baptism of fire. I have always asked "why?" and never shied from possible answers. I knew the truth would be out there somewhere. I never expected the truth to be cosy, but I demanded it just the same. There is still more to know but my mind is so full it's overflowing.

Part of growing up was forgiving and moving on, bitterness only hinders, never helps. I learnt to accept the flaws of those I hold dear and suffered the agony of releasing those incapable of controlling their negative urges. I have made myself a cocoon of sorts, a home of love that is my only raft in the storms that are now so visible around me. I can't wish to be a child again, though I know to you that's what I am. I must embrace the change and keep walking, never stop growing, never close my mind to new learning and enlightenment.

I guess you could call my troubles "growing pains," but I see them more as lessons, painful but necessary.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), September 15, 2015.

My sister curls up, cat-like by the fire. After a long night of raging at our mother she is simply exhausted. I wonder if her dreams beg her to calm down in their nonsensical ways, or if they egg her on ever further into the abyss she's headed for. I almost laugh, in sleep her face is like my lil' sis, the one who'd bring me flowers while I was studying for an exam, or tell me so honestly why they guy I was dating was an idiot. I miss her, I want her back. Mom says she'll reappear when her teenage hormones die down, we just have to keep her on the right road until then. I told Mom there's no way I was this bad, she just laughed. Now we're playing good cop, bad cop. Mom lays down the law and I'm the shoulder to cry on, that way at least we know what's going on in that addled brain of hers...

By Angela Abraham (daisy), January 31, 2015.

The walls of our lodge that were so stifling in the summertime seem so insubstantial against the chaotic onslaught of white. I have never seen the fall leaves disappear so fast. In an average year they would be most of the way to being soil before the snow dominates our lives, not this time. The black clouds are as full and dark as they are early. Already the roof is creaking and we'll have to be up there with shovels within the hour if we don't it to collapse. From the porch are icicles longer than Papa's shoes but more beautiful than mama's lead-crystal bowl. Get my gear on the watch the clearing of the drifts, but instead Papa hands me the shovel and simply nods. Apparently I'm grown up enough for this. I catch a fleeting stiffening of Mama's face but then she forces a weak smile and busies herself with making the bread, pounding the dough somewhat harder than necessary. I weigh the metal in my gloved hand and a grin spreads over my face faster than syrup on a hot pancake.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), January 20, 2015.

Nothing was ever a problem to Riley. Money would come, today was more important than a hundred tomorrows. Today was given, tomorrows were only a concept. Everyone was “dude” to him, everyone was his friend and judgement wasn't his thing. He slid effortlessly between social groups and avoided competition in any form, be it exams, sports or political opinions. He flowed through his life like water until the day Shona told him he was going to be a father. Then he disappeared for a week, completely, like he's been beamed into some UFO. Everyone told Shona she was dumb, he'd never be anything but a drifter, useless to her and the kid. But when he came back it was with a job offer in his hand and a ring box in his pocket. He knew first hand what growing up without a father meant and he wasn't about to curse his kid with the same.

By Angela Abraham (daisy), January 17, 2015.

The most evidential part of growing up, is realizing you can't always save the ones you love.

By myownauthor3, December 27, 2014.