This is a brief look into the life of an adult child who, for one reason or another, has decided (and been allowed) to return to the homestead from which they came. There’s a lot of us out there, in our twenties and thirties who, due to money reasons (or in my case, that plus a complete U-Turn in career choice), have ended up living back at home with our parents.
Don’t let their eye-rolling fool you…they secretly LOVE it. Why pass up another opportunity to lay down some Home Rule? A second chance to say those immortal words ‘Not while you’re living under MY house, young lady..’ Every day that passes is another day to ask ‘are you going to wear a jacket with that?’ with a sly knowing smirk as they watch that little vein in your temple throb to a crescendo as you scream “I’m a grown-up!!”. The fact that you’re having a tantrum about being said grown-up only serves to bring their point home. Oh they’re skilled creatures these parents..
Living at home as a grown-up puts you in a strange position. You’re eternally grateful for the down-time while you figure out your next move in the big bad world, but you’re also aware that you have stepped into a sort of time warp. Or a loophole in the universe. For in the years between when you first left home and forged your way into the land of the grown-ups and the time you return battered and bruised and needing a time-out, somehow you survived all by yourself.. Your clothes were cleaned on a semi-regular basis, you got yourself up, dressed and out the door to work or college all by yourself more or less on time, if you drove you hardly ever mowed anyone down on the road or went through a windshield due to non-wearing of seatbelt…and most of all, you didn’t starve. Either you developed cookery skills or managed to have all the local takeaways on speed dial. Either way, you did okay. And then you moved back home.
By moving back home you are unaware that you signed a contract with Father Time. This contract wiped clean any of those skills you developed outside of the home – in the eyes of your parents. So now you are nothing more than a big old twenty or thirty-something menace in their kitchen who is going to burn the house down if left unchecked. I could write an entire blog on the choreography my mother and I engage in while we both attempt to cook dinner. How I was ever left alone near electrical appliances without my mammy coaching me while I lived in Cork for 6 years I’ll never know.
“It’s starting to boil now.”
“Yup, I know. I can see bubbles..God bless Junior Cert science.”
“No need to be smart..”
“Yes there is, I’m making ‘BOIL in the Bag’ rice. It’s in the name!! If it was ‘Lukewarm in the Bag’ rice I may need you to intervene cos obviously the power’s gone straight to my head”
“I’m only trying to help..*sniff*..”
Ah, that sniff…it’s the universal symbol for mothers the world over. It can mean many things. In this case, it meant “I had nothing else to say on what you were doing but I walked all the way out here and I hate wasted journeys. I’m going to act hurt now because my attempt at mothering you ended in disaster.”
My favourite has to be the wake-up call. Not the symbolic ‘moment of clarity’ one, the actual rising from one’s slumber.
“I just wanted to tell you that it’s ten to two.”
(groggily looks at her alarm clock, then her phone on the bed) “Yup, I know, thanks.”
“Okay so, I wasn’t sure if you did.”
Now I should point out it’s a Sunday. And I’m 31. But here’s where the mother’s skill comes in. Rather than burst in with a lecture about how I’m wasting the day and I’m sleeping a lot lately blah blah, she comes back 20 minutes later with this.
“Do you want a cup of tea?”
“Okay, okay, I get it, I’m getting up…”
“No, it doesn’t matter, sure I’m heading away in a few minutes anyway.”
It was pretty sweet to be lured out of bed with a cup of tea, I’ll admit. But why if she was going away did she want me up?? I’d happily have slept all day! And that never happens. Because as much as I love my mammy, she’s a bit of an insomniac who wakes at all hours..and not quietly. I call her the walking drum kit. Well worth the slap I get for it!
So I get up, and there’s my lovely tea..
“Did you put sugar in for me as well? You didn’t have to do that..”
“Course I did, my little sugar plum..”(I added that bit :P)
“How many did you put in?”
“Oh, sorry I only take one and a half” (have done for a few years)
“But this is the way you always liked it!” (see what I mean about the loophole in time??)
For all the adjustments made on both sides when a grown-up child comes back home to the nest they once flew out of, you can’t beat putting the key in the door of a place you can always feel like yourself in, with someone there who knows instinctively when to make you a cup of tea just by looking at your face as you walk in the door. You drink it gratefully, and even though there’s too much sugar in it, it still tastes rapid cos it’s made with love. And I am eternally grateful to be allowed back home while I finish the mammoth task of forging a career for myself, and we’re both glad of the company because to be honest we’re so flippin’ odd I don’t think anyone else would understand.
*braces herself for a clip around the head*
It’s good to be home.