I’m in my twenties. I live in another city – in fact, the bloody capital city of this country. I rent a 2 bed flat alone, paid all the deposit money myself (for the first time ever) and last night I started looking at a mortgage calculator. I am a grown up. I’m am a grown up (repeat this x 10 whilst wearing fake tan-stained pyjamas, eating last nights leftover kebab and you’ll really really start to believe it – trust me)
But yes, despite my grown up tendencies, why do I revert to being a child when I come back home for Christmas?
I leave my bed unmade hoping some magical fairy will tidy it – whereas in London, the only days I don’t make my bed are when I’m in a huge rush to leave or when I only plan on getting out of the bed to go to the loo. When there’s a spider in my room, I’ll holler DAAAAD DAAD DAD DAD DAAAAAAAD!!!! until he comes to the rescue armed with a glass and piece of paper – whereas in London, I’ve had to deal with this myself (and broke a couple of glasses in the process) I forget all of my nice toiletries and face creams so that I have to use my mothers, to which we both get annoyed at: me, because I don’t like any of them, and her, because I’m using her toiletries in a totally non-sparing way because I didn’t pay for them. My parents insist on driving me everywhere because I’m “out of practice using the car” and the distinct lack of public transport and Uber means I have to call them up to “get a lift home from the pub” and then ask sweetly “is it ok if we drop Alice and Poppy back on the way too?” as my friends clamber in to the car.
When you (kind of) grow up and live away from your family, your life is your own. You can do what you want, when you want and you are your own boss. I’m not sure about you, but I grew up with relatively overprotective parents. So when I’d tell them I’m going out, I’d have to answer 21 questions in order to even leave the house –
“where are you going” – for dinner
“where?” – the pub
“How long will you be out for?” – however long it takes to order and eat my food, plus travel time
“Who else is going?” – everyone
“Who’s everyone?” – well you know, Harry, Alice, Poppy…
“What about Alona and Beth?” – yes, I said everyone.
“What time will you be back?” – whenever I’ve eaten my food
“Will you be drinking?” – no, because I’m driving
“Don’t drink and drive, will you?” – no, I won’t.
“Promise?” – yes, I promise
“Ok text me when you get there and when you leave, ok?” – ok fine
*text from mum before I’ve even got out of the car* “u ok? x” – omg seriously??
Question: did this conversation happen when I was 17, or now, when I’m 25?
Answer: both!! Honestly, things haven’t changed. It’s like we completely – my parents and I – slip back into our old parent-child positions. Who’s fault really is it? Is it ours for coming back and suddenly morphing into our lazy teenage selves? Or is it our parents for snapping back into their unconditional nurturing sides that was so normal and part of everyday life for the 18 years we lived under their roof?
I love it and hate it in equal measure – I think, personally, there’s something really relaxing about being able to go home and actually switch off. We’re used to being so independent that it’s actually really nice to take a holiday from that independence. Use and abuse, I say! Text your mum from your bedroom asking her to make you a cuppa and bring it up. Enjoy the lift to the pub because if you were back in the city it’d cost you £10 in a cab. And also, on the perspective of our parents, I know we may have flown the nest but I suppose Christmas, for them, is a time when we’re all back again and can play out our old family roles of yonder years. And there’s something quite nice about that for them, too.
Merry Christmas – enjoy it whilst you can!