Your parents sell your trampoline. No more hot July days spent jumping for hours with the hose on full blast and the sprinkler spraying up from underneath; no more “accidentally” falling into the safety net and desperately trying to rip it down while making it look like a mistake, just so you don’t have to be the kids with the safety net on their trampoline; no more attempted backflips followed by your mom’s voice blasting out of the kitchen window telling you “No flips or you’ll get kicked off the trampoline.” No more.
Your dad calls you to tell you that your childhood best friend’s father is going to prison for fifteen years for corporate fraud.
The birthday cards you receive from your family no longer feature your favorite Disney character or stupid-funny jokes about being a kid. They’re stiff, letterpress and made from 100% recycled wood pulp. I mean, that’s great..but where’s Aladdin?
Waiters give you weird looks when you order a grilled cheese at restaurants. Lunds cashiers give you the same look when your basket is full of Tyson chicken nuggets, frozen crinkle cut French fries and Sour Punch Straws.
The day comes when you get your braces off. You get to skip the first three periods of the day. You lay back and watch E.T. on mute while the Italian woman in charge of busting the little fuckers off your teeth works away. Your mom buys you a Caribou cooler on the way to school. You remember what cold feels like on your teeth. You make a dramatic entrance into your seventh grade math class fifteen minutes late. Everyone looks up from their tests as you make your way to your desk. What’s up bitches, I’m a man now. See my teeth?
You aren’t scared of your neighbor’s Halloween decorations anymore. That skeleton is fake, no matter what your friend’s older brother tells you. There’s no way your neighbors used to kill cable guys dispatched to their house.
You get really concerned about how your handwriting looks. Maybe this was just me, but there was a day in sixth grade when all of a sudden I realized I need to get my penmanship shit together.
“Penis,” “sex,” “gay” and “blowjob” are words that enter daily conversation with your peers. “Vagina” is no longer mispronounced as “pachina” or whatever the fuck girls used to call it in second grade.
You come home from college, whether it’s the first summer back or just a random weekend home during the spring of your junior year, and you pull out the boxes your mother compiled of all your grade school art projects, middle school yearbooks, prom photo albums, the CD collection you were so proud of (including the first CD you ever bought, the Sound of Music soundtrack – or was that just me?), book series you read, your ninth grade assignment notebook and the collection of hall passes you accrued in order to roam the halls freely, the newspapers you were an editor for your senior year, and the letter your parents wrote to you the day you were born, which they gave to you the day you left for college. You look through all this and realize your childhood is over. And that you must have been a huge nerd for buying the Sound of Music soundtrack. Goddamn you love Julie Andrews.