Back home again - with Mom and Dad

November 20, 2005|By TANIKA WHITE | TANIKA WHITE,SUN REPORTER

The alarm clock had gone off twice, and each time I'd snuggled deeper under the covers. The Last Minute was at least two more snooze-button hits away.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. "Honey, it's after 7:30. What time are you getting up?"

If I were some luckier soul, the inquirer would have been an ever-attentive, breakfast-on-a-tray-bearing lover.

Alas, it was my dad.

At that moment I realized why they call people like me "boomerang kids." I must have been hit in the head with something to have given up my apartment, my independence and my precious 10 more minutes of sleep to move back in with my parents at age 32.

Why did I do it?

Like many of the millions of 18-to-35-year-olds in the United States who are currently living with their folks (according to the latest census), I packed up my bachelorette pad to rejoin my parents in the house I grew up in for financial reasons.

I'd decided recently that I wanted to buy a house, and - with lots of designer-handbag-induced credit-card debt and an out-of-control housing market to contend with - I found myself a few years late and a whole lot of dollars short.

So I called on Mom and Dad, who are, without exaggeration, two of the most generous, supportive parents anyone could ever dream of having. I knew they'd understand why I needed to come home for a year and a half - to pay off bills and save for my first house.

But I should note here that they had, just two months before, locked the doors behind the last of their five children. When my 18-year-old brother shipped off to the Navy, they stripped the carpets in their empty nest, put in hardwood floors, mounted a slick, new plasma TV in the living room and started making plans to turn the entire upstairs into a luxury master suite.

So when I began scouting out space upstairs in my old bedroom for all my things, the man who once pitched a tent on the lawn of an apartment complex where I lived for a summer just so he could see me, his oldest child, for a weekend - this same man turned into an African-American David Spade from those Capital One commercials.

"No!" my dad would say, with uncharacteristic vim. "No. No. No. Can't you just get a roommate?"

Needless to say, I won.

And so I've been back at home for the last few months, commuting a greater distance to work, living out of U-Haul boxes, having to call home when I'm going to be late, adjusting to a house full of other people's schedules, cooking habits, noises and, worst of all, rules.

Oh, how I long for days of unwashed dishes, happily piled in the sink.

Oh, how I miss being able to stay out overnight with my boyfriend.

Ah, to swig directly from the Listerine bottle, just once.

Other than those few inconveniences, it's not so bad, really.

I've been bringing to work home-cooked meals for lunch a lot more, courtesy of my mommy.

Dear ole Dad has filled up my gas tank and put air in my tires on more than one occasion. And despite his tendency to view me as his new, live-in "come-see" buddy ("Hey, Tanika! Come watch Braveheart with me!" "Hey, Tanika! Come see what I can do on my iPod!"), I'm finding that I love having the best man I've ever known around on an everyday basis.

For me, this transition back home has been helped by the fact that my parents and I are really friends, something most people I know aren't privileged enough to say is the case with their own parents.

Mom and Dad and me, we enjoy each other's company. We respect each other. We laugh a lot.

But it also helps that this homecoming of mine is, thankfully, temporary.

Two months down. Sixteen months of no-snooze mornings to go.

tanika white@baltsun.com

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