Not Your Bed
Sure, your parents have kept your old room “just as you left it”, but that doesn’t make it your comfortable sanctuary, anymore. The sheets are scratchy on your skin, you miss your favorite pillow, and the mattress pales in comparison to your Tempur-Pedic at home. Not to mention that your thrifty father barely uses the air conditioner so, more times than not, you wake up in a pool of your own sweat.
Not Your Shower
Okay, how do I turn this on? I like to think that I’m a smart, capable, independent young woman… until I have to use someone else’s shower. Seriously, which way do I turn the knob? How do I get it hot? Okay, now how do I make it stop scalding me? It takes a special kind of genius to be able to walk into any shower and know how to operate it.
Going Off the Grid
I love visiting my parents’ ranch. They’ve got a beautiful home in the country, with acres of gorgeous property. But, they have never had cable television, their Internet is barely capable of sending an email, and they seem totally unfazed by the fact that none of our cell phones can get signal out here. I can last two days, tops, before the beauty and splendor of nature wears off and I’m foaming at the mouth because I won’t be able to stream this week’s episode of “Game of Thrones”.
Yes, Mama, I’m enjoying school. Yes, Daddy, the job is going well. No, Daddy, I don’t want to work for your college friend. No, Mama, I haven’t gained weight… Mama, Daddy, I know you’re only trying to help and I know you love me, but if you ask me about my love life one more time, I’m going to venture out into the Texas Hill Country and wait for the intense heat to kill me (a romantic thought, as far as suicides go). The fact that my love life is a mystery to you is no accident; it’s for your own protection. I’m not prepared to explain hook-up culture and the concept of a long-term fuck-buddy to you.
There is nothing worse than when a visit to your parents’ turns into a tour of being dragged to see a ton of people you barely even know. Please, Mama and Daddy, for the love of all that’s sacred, don’t make me go to church with you, don’t make me visit with your adult friends that I haven’t seen since high school (Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Holman, how are you?), and, I’m begging you, don’t invite a bunch of your friends over to dinner, so that you can all wonder aloud about why I have yet to bring a man home.
The Complete and Utter Lack of Privacy
You’d think with my parents living in a large country home, there would at least be some opportunity to get a little alone time. Nope. Not even in my bedroom in the middle of the night, apparently. “Mama, what you walked in on last night was me having phone sex with the long-term fuck buddy I have yet to tell you about. That would not happen if you didn’t randomly come up into my bedroom at 2 o’ clock in the morning.”
Adapting to the Customs of the Natives
Despite the fact that you have grown up and lived a large chunk of your life in your parents’ home, the fact remains that you are now a guest in their house and, therefore, must endure their way of life in silence. This includes but is not limited to: Listening to hours upon hours of your daddy’s Cowboy Ballad Sirius radio station (though, I must admit, Marty Robbins’s “El Paso” and Lefty Frizell’s “Long Black Veil” are awesome songs), being told to turn off your music that you are playing in your room because Daddy refuses to embrace Bruno Mars, still somehow having a list of chores even though you’re an adult and are only visiting for a long weekend, living with the fact that the air condition is only on for a few hours every day, and accepting your role as a temporary day laborer (turns out that your parent’s have been holding back on starting their herb garden so that you could help with pulling weeds during your visit)
Worst Things about Visiting Your Parents While Your Sibling is also Visiting
Let the record show, that I love my little bro to pieces and he’s the coolest sibling ever. But, when we find ourselves back home together, it’s hard not to fall into what’s comfortable and easy: Which is to fight tooth and nail for what precious little bandwidth my parents have and trying to kill each other over the one portable fan my parents own (I’ll be damned if he’s gonna sleep comfortably while I sweat!). But, I couldn’t ask for a better comrade in suffering and being at home with my brother makes things ten times more fun.
I think one of the strangest parts of growing up is the day that you realize that your life is no longer fully connected to your parents’ life. You do things differently, you have a totally separate world that you inhabit, it seems. Yes, it can be frustrating to come into your childhood home and to realize that you have changed. But, it’s the familiar things that keep you coming back. To spend time with the people who raised you and love you, to know that your mama is only going to cook your favorites for the duration of your stay, to somehow learn the lyrics to all country music produced from the 40’s to the 60’s by sheer volume of exposure, and, most importantly, to reconnect with that foundation, your roots, and to fully appreciate how far you have come. Besides, you can survive anything for four days (including lack of Internet).