I always thought it was weird in the movies when the teenage son or daughter left home when they are eighteen to embark on their collegiate adventures of underage drinking, getting laid, partying until five in the morning to run to class hangover and for the first time being the sole maker of the your own decisions.
It seemed amazing to me that the parents actually LET their children go to school miles away from them in another state and proudly watched them take their first steps towards adulthood and independence.
I went to the university (we don’t really have colleges) for two years and never ONCE thought about leaving home and living on my own just because I was a university student. I partied; I got drunk, (I didn’t get laid because I was a prude) and did it all with my daddy’s money and having breakfast lunch and dinner cooked at home by my mommy.
I never tried to survive on Ramen Noodles and Chef Boyardee dinners (Thank the Lord and hallelujah), never had a crazy roommate that I had to put up with because I was living in the dorms, and never had to go home to do my laundry because the coin laundries were too full. I also never felt like I was missing anything. I had fun, I crammed for tests until I cried (law school is tough ok?) I made new friends, partied for Halloween in slutty outfits, made out with inappropriate men and did everything one sees people doing in College in the movies and all while living at home. I didn’t feel like I was living my college experience any less just because I was at home with my mom by the time I was ready to go to bed.
Oh but I was mistaken, birds need to leave the nest, is an irrefutable fact of life that I am painfully aware of.
I am (for those of you who don't know) a twenty six year old married woman that is living with her mother. The circumstances of my coming to the U.S. made it necessary for us to stay together, leaving my mom to manage on her own with her little english and cluelessness typycal of an ex-rich housewife made it it impossible for me to leave the nest and on her own guilt-free. Before I had no reason good enough to abandon her but now I am married and even though my mom and husband get along is still kinda weird. My husband has been easily bribed into compliance by his addiction of my mom’s delicious empanadas (that’s food to you dirty minded people!) and to be honest aside from the lack of spontaneous kitchen sex because of our motherly roommate I think he’s generally okay with the arrangement.
I on the other hand am not okay about it anymore. I love my mother, she’s easy going, uncomplicated, always in a good mood, good and always helpful... Oh but mornings like this morning are the ones that serve to remind me how smart American teenagers are by seeking their independence and freedom at such an early age. I wouldn’t have been able to survive outside of home when I was eighteen, I am being honest I didn’t even know how to do laundry! and I didn't even wash my own panties. But now that I am twenty-six I feel the strains of sharing a household with a woman who is used to running the household and is unwilling to relinquish the power!
A perfect example was, as I said, this morning when my cleaning the kitchen became a topic of discussion with my mother looking over my shoulder and criticizing my distribution of dishes in the dishwasher (what a pretty alliteration!) Every cup I put in she would move to another spot and before that dance had lasted 30-second I had to speak up.
-“What are you doing?” I looked at her with my I-am-trying-to-be-patient-but-I-am-this-close-to-hurting-you look that I give my husband all the time. -“I’m fixing it, you are doing it wrong” She said disgustingly cheery for so early in the morning. I ignored her and put two more cups which she proceeded to change again. -“What the hell?” I said all patience gone. -“They need to be symmetrical” She said pointing at the cups she had arranged by size and had aligned into an OCD sufferer’s dream. -“What the fuck do they need to be symmetrical for? They are all going to be cleaned regardless of how pretty they look!” I hadn’t finished the sentence before she had hit me with the kitchen rag over the head and making my scalp sting. -“What the…!?” Thou shalt honor thy father and mother Said the voice of my school nun who pops in and out of my head from time to time to remind me of my forgotten and hated Catholic teachings at THE MOST inappropriate times. -“Don’t you talk back to me!” She said and continued to rearrange the cups to her liking. -“Why don’t you just go crazy and finish them yourself then” I said turning around and going to my room to finish getting ready.
I walked to the door to leave for work and she handed me the keys, my cell phone and my to-go cup of coffee.
“Have a nice day, dear” She said forgetting completely I had cursed at her, that she had smacked me in the head like I was a five year old having a temper tantrum and that I had contemplated matricide for a split second. I grumbled my goodbyes and walked to the car, amazed that I had managed to go from cussing, to mad, pissed off and then guilt ridden in a matter of 60 seconds.
Like I said, people here have it right, it just not natural to live with your parents for so long! So flee little children, flee to your independence, to your sanity, to your life. Because believe me, you don’t want to start your Fridays with a raging headache before 9 am and having to explain to your co-workers why you have a red welt in your forehead where your mother smacked you with a wet rag for talking back to her.
Twenty-six year old married woman getting smacked by her mother… sigh. The many joys of being Latin.