When I was a young adult, I felt completely comfortable coming home to my parent’s place. It was the house where I’d grown up. One bedroom was “mine”. I knew where the dishes were kept, where the good Scotch waited, where the extra towels were kept.
Coming in the door was coming home. Just like I’d done about a million times before. Key in lock, door pushed open, “Hi, Ma!” as I came up the stairs into the kitchen.
But gradually, as the years went by, “home” became the apartment where Paul and I lived. It became the house we rented when our first child was born. Then the house we bought to raise all three of our children.
Visits to my parents house became visits.
I realized that my parents would plan special meals for our visits. They’d put on a tablecloth. I started to ask permission to have a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream.
I was a guest, in my own home.
Weird, but cool. I felt like a real adult.
I never wondered how that felt to my folks, though.
Then my kids grew up. They moved away. They all have lives. My daughter lives only a half a mile away and brings her kids here every day for me to care for while she and her husband are working. So she still feels pretty comfortable here, and has no worries about opening the fridge for a snack.
But my sons live two hours away, and we only see each other every couple of months.
When they come home, I notice that they are happy to grab themselves a beer, or toss a load of laundry into the machine. They seem to feel like this is still more or less “home”.
But something bizarre has happened to me, the momma.
It’s scary and it’s weird. Me no likies.
Yesterday our son Matt and his fiancee were planning to come for dinner. We haven’t seen them for a bit, and I was looking forward to catching up. I did what any self respecting Italian Momma would do. I shopped, I baked, I roasted, I sauteed.
But I also cleaned the kitchen. I threw the trash and washed the can. I cleaned the bathroom and put out new soap. I adjusted the sofa pillows and swept the floor. I vacuumed the steps.
As I was washing the doggie nose prints off the living room window, I suddenly stopped, vinegar soaked rag in hand. “What the hell am I doing?” I asked myself. “Did I seriously just clean the toilet for the kid who I potty trained in this very room?”
I shook my head at my foolishness, gave myself a little smack, and went back to cleaning the windows.
Then I straightened up the pinecones on my shelf and changed the batteries in all the Halloween lights.
My kids are “company”.
Holy crap. Time must be flying.