Moving out of your parent’s house and getting ton with your own young adult life is an exciting rite of passage that the majority of us in North America know. But amidst all the “I can’t wait to make my own rules” and “no curfew” anticipation, there are some things that you don’t even realize you’ll miss. Sure, people tell you “Just wait till you’re paying your own bills! you’ll wish you were home again.” or parents tell you “You know if you miss us you can always call or visit.” and you laugh at them because there’s no way you’ll call because you miss them. But you’ll want to call. Oh yes, you’ll want to call and with that call maybe jump back in time to when mom and dad took care of you and you didn’t even realize it. Here are the 5 worst things about moving out.
1. No one ever does your laundry.
I’ve been doing my own laundry for almost 10 years now, washing it, drying it, folding and putting it away. It’s not a difficult chore but one that does need to be done if you want to be accepted in social circles that prefer pleasant scents of laundry detergent over the musky odour of re-worn t-shirts. Laundry is something that goes with you. But it’s not until you leave home that you realize sometimes your parents did your laundry and it was awesome. I remember coming home from high school one day and when I went to transfer my clothes from the washer where I started them that morning I found them already dried and folded sitting on top of the dryer. My daddy had become my hero and I didn’t even realize it. Super-hero Daddy, will you come fold my two baskets of clean laundry that are being procrastinated against, please?
2. You always know what’s in the fridge.
Back home, someone else usually did the majority of the shopping. And even if you did have to do some, there were always leftovers from some lunch, dinner, or snack sitting around. Growing up with 5 siblings, somebody was always making something and leaving it in the fridge. There was some form of left over spaghetti or part of a sandwich that was left due to the creator being called out for some farm emergency chore. When you’re on your own buying your own groceries and creating your own leftovers, its no longer exciting to open the fridge and stare. In fact, its easier to just look at the list of what you don’t have and you’ll remind yourself that you’re broke and can’t afford to midnight snack on your left over Kraft Dinner. That’s your lunch tomorrow.
3. Dishes are no longer a two person job.
Okay, so nobody actually enjoys doing dishes, but at home it was always a set. Me and my sister, the boys, or the little sisters. two by two by two we would take turns doing dishes. If a couple started bickering sometimes the one would have to do dishes by themselves OR the two of them would have to do dishes for every meal for the next two days. (the other four who were just pronounced off dish duty for a minimum of 3 meals were always super happy about this.) But despite the bickering and working with a sibling (and the fact that we were washing cook-wear, utensils, cups, plates and everything for an 8 person family) dishes weren’t always terrible. Sometimes we’d play the inevitable losing race of the washer putting dishes in the drainboard before the dryer had emptied it. Once you’re on your own, dishes suck. You can’t race yourself. There is no one to annoy by throwing dishes randomly into the drainboard instead of neatly stacking them. You just talk to yourself as you lose your own game.
4. Less hugs.
At home there ‘s almost always someone who will hug you at least once a day. In our family, it was customary to give a hug good-bye when someone left the house to go to town for groceries. Even if only half the family left, that was at least 4 hugs guaranteed. Then, if the younger kids were the ones who left, when they came home they were excited to see the big siblings (sometimes) and suddenly more hugs happened. That all changes when you’re moved out. I ‘m not a huggy person with strangers unless theres a good vibe and they go for it and I’m awkward but I’m not going to be the one who makes the hug awkward by not hugging and leaving the other person hanging. So the hugs I get are from my boyfriend. I see him once a week, maybe twice if we’re lucky. I went from world traveling, meeting families, becoming part of the families, and getting hugs in those families, to high-fiving co-workers and the occasionally side hugging the old kitchen guys. Hugs from people you know become a craving that is fulfilled two or three times a year.
5. Recreating Mom and Dad’s cooking is not as easy as we once thought.
All those years of thinking mom was using Hamburger Helper to extend the ground beef. All the wrinkled turned up noses at Dad’s moose heart stew or curry that could kill an Indian. Those are the meals you want to go back to, because hamburger helper just doesn’t taste as good when you make it and after eating the cheapest beef and living on chicken breasts, moose heart sounds interesting and different and the thought of warm, satisfying stew with biscuits is enough to start your mouth watering. No longer do you care about what kind of organ is used as meat. Moving out isn’t all Ramen noodles and fast food unless you want it to be. But even your own home cooking doesn’t quite relieve the nostalgic craving for the taste of something familiar even if it once seemed boring at the old kitchen table on the farm.
Moving out is part of life, but being on your own after growing up in a family of 8 or 11 (depending who’s house I was at for the weekend), all this silence is a little bit too much. Next summer I am mail-ordering my little sisters here for two weeks and they have to be the most annoying and beautiful girls ever so that when I finally send them home I can stop taking this silence and empty house for granted.
Although, soon enough I will be home! Two more weeks today and I will be pulling into my home town and giving my father the biggest hug possible. Then we will go to the ranch and I’ll be tackled by 4 pairs of growing, lanky arms and legs belonging to my “four little ones.”
I hope you’re having a happy summer, World!
All my love,