back home after you're all grown up
by Jodie Deignan |
continued from page 1
I pay rent to my mother, and with what I pay, I could probably find an apartment or house in my area to rent, with the help of a couple of roommates. If I really wanted to buckle down and was willing to give up digital cable and high-speed internet, I might even be able to live in my own digs. But I've found that I like living at home. I've learned a lot about my mom. I talk to my brother almost every day. These are advantages that I'm sure I wouldn't have if I lived elsewhere. Through all of the time that my father was sick, my family became somewhat estranged. After all, it was an unusual and uncomfortable situation. While my family can't change what happened in the past, I think that we're making up for it now.
There are some definite ground rules for living with my mother. First and foremost: rent is to be paid on time, and she is my landlord. I need to treat her with that respect. Granted, if I were to run into a financial hardship, I know my mom would be much more understanding than a regular landlord. But this is a contingency plan reserved for extreme situations only, not just because I needed to spend an afternoon at the mall.
I need to be respectful when bringing guests over. I make sure that noise is kept to a minimum when my mother's trying to sleep, and I clean up messes the same night they're made. Sometimes it's really annoying -- these are things I might not do if I was just living with unrelated roommates. Then I remember how annoying I always found it back in the day when I was living with roommates, and their lack of consideration would mean I couldn't get a good night's sleep when I really needed one, or use the sink because it was overflowing with other people's dirty dishes.
I think that in many ways, living at home now is something like my dream -- only sometimes better. There's a beautiful, well-kept yard that I don't have to mow; I have free reign to decorate my area of the house; I get to turn up the heat as high as I like. This house is nice, and it's familiar. I do realize how fortunate I am. Though I don't want to live here forever, while I'm living in this area and am otherwise unattached, I think it's a good place to be.
Jodie Deignan is a mental health counselor and music therapist who lives on Cape Cod, MA. She drives a purple car, watches way too much of "The X-Files" on DVD and goes to the county fair solely to laugh at livestock.