I haven’t lived at home/with my parents since I was 18. I’ve either been away at school, stayed with other relatives during breaks, or lived in my own apartment. My parents have moved around a lot, so almost every time I’ve visited, it was in a new place.
It’s a strange phenomenon to visit “home” when it’s not actually your home. There’s that joke when you leave college and visit your parents, it’s as if you never left. You give a running list of everything you’ve missed out on for however many months while your mom goes to the grocery store. You click through the TV and relax for days on end. Your old bedroom is still intact with the same floral or rocket ship bed sheets. Everything about your house is familiar and comfortable.
But you know that feeling you get when you stay at someone else’s house? All of a sudden you’re a hazard and you start bumping into things you didn’t know were there, or cause a mess in their kitchen by accident, or rip their pillow by mistake. You are on caution alert but it’s like we all have butter fingers when in someone else’s home. Your friends parents are making butternut squash lasagna for dinner and you tell them how much you love butternut squash lasagna when in reality, the thought makes you want to vomit. And when dinner comes around and they all decide to say a prayer and your friend’s mom says, “Jess, why don’t you say grace for us?” Or when they make your bed for the night and they hand you a blanket that makes you break out in hives but you insist that your “skin just does that sometimes.” Everything feels weird.
You wouldn’t think you’d feel those weird emotions when in your parent’s house. I’ve made it back home to New Hampshire for the holidays and I’m staying with my mom and I have found myself in shambles, only briefly. Perhaps it’s the jet lag of a whole 3 hours (which I’m not a little bitch, I can take it) or the fact that I haven’t had a proper nights sleep in weeks, or the fact that I haven’t kept to a normal eating schedule in days, but I frantically searched the cabinets for coffee mugs. Then the coffee, sugar, and cream. It’s instant coffee, which meant heating the water up in the microwave only it took far too long to figure out the microwave than I’d like to admit. Once the coffee was hot, I added the sugar, which is where the butter fingers come into play and I shakily sprinkled way too much sugar on the countertop. I couldn’t find the pans or the spare towels, or even the paper towels. My mom only uses leave-in conditioner, which I’m not used to. She had to teach me how to use the TV, and what the WiFi was called. She asked me what I wanted at the grocery store and the only thing I could come up with was contact solution and sleeping pills. But I’m at home! I’m at my mom’s house! My mind is whirling around two different things and I felt like a T-Rex running around but my tail keeps knocking shit over and my arms aren’t long enough to reach for anything to fix.
I’m hoping after a couple of days, and at least one night of good sleep after a Motrin knocks me out, I’ll be back to my normal self. In the meantime, my mom has given me the chore of baking cookies this afternoon while she’s at work. I just hope I don’t burn the house down.