1. The day you left for college was preceded by a lengthy period during which your parents bemoaned the onset of “empty nest syndrome” because they honestly feared life without you.
2. Your mom definitely cried as you packed up all your things and/or unpacked them in your college dorm room.
3. Your parents were both on campus for your first day of orientation, feigning delight as they pushed back the tears because their baby was all grown up.
4. Their attendance record over the years for all your major academic activities, sporting events, and life milestones is near perfect.
5. When you’re sick, even with just a cold, you can call home for a heavy dose of guaranteed sympathy.
6. You wish you could deny it, but your parents’ heartfelt concern when you’re down and out really does make you feel better instantaneously.
7. You can’t quite shake the instinct to call mom or dad when you can’t figure out how to adult, and they always have the just answer you’re looking for—on everything from how to operate a washer to how to cook a specific dish you remember fondly from childhood.
8. Long after moving out and signing a lease to start your own grownup life, you still refer to your parents’ place as “home.”
9. You’re expected to be “home” for every single holiday. On the occasions you’ve hinted at spending Thanksgiving or Easter at a friend’s place, your mom said something like “oh” with so much disappointment threaded throughout the that simple comment that you capitulated immediately.
10. You sometimes wonder how your parents have time for anything other than monitoring your life down to every microscopic detail. Seriously, don’t they have any outside interests?
11. You’ve tried to encourage both of your parents to adopt some kind of hobby that isn’t you, but your attempts have all failed so you continue to regale them with news of your course load and job search and gossip about your friends or colleagues.
12. Dinner with your parents is like the Spanish Inquisition. You realize that every question is well-intentioned, but it also makes you feel a little childish sometimes to report so many details about yourself.
13. So you tend to make stuff just for fun sometimes, taking a creative license with certain scenarios and winking at yourself internally along the way.
14. Those little fibs pretty much represent your biggest rebellion to date since rebelling was never really an option for you. They also inevitably make you feel a little guilty.
15. Sometimes, you resent that your parents’ hyper interest in you hasn’t prepared you for the harsh reality that most people just don’t care all that much about what you ate for breakfast.
16. You’ve caught yourself talking too much about the average details of your life on dates or at lunch with friends and then quickly apologized for rambling.
17. But you secretly like knowing that you can call home at any time for a captive audience to the everyday goings on of your life.
18. If you don’t check in with your parents every other day, minimum, they grow extremely concerned about your general welfare.
19. After a few days of no contact, you’ve been known to receive texts with cryptic messages like “call us” that make you wonder, momentarily, if someone’s dying, and you’re guilted into dialing home immediately.
20. As much as you want to establish some sense of independence, you feel bad not granting them what they most covet: information about you.
21. Your parents probably still handle your taxes, and/or receive alerts when your bank account is almost overdrawn.
22. You’re definitely still on the family phone plan.
23. You’ve been caught calling one of your parents “mommy” or “daddy” in public long after the age at which most people make the shift to “mom” and “dad.”
24. You’re in awe of people who only talk to their parents once a week or so, but you can’t decide whether you feel mostly envious or sad for them.