There have been some noticeable changes this year in NC’s relationship with us:
- Our home has officially become her local hotel,
- And the old man and I have been officially replaced in her affections by her boyfriend.
It’s no secret the old man and I have hoped for sometime now that our two would leave the nest sooner rather than later – even if Kurt’s route is via the criminal justice system – but this in-between stage, as she fights for more independence and becomes more reliant on the boyfriend, is wearing.
We have definitely reached the “hotel” stage of parenting
It’s not like she plans to leave home permanently anytime soon, with her degree in rockology to complete – but we are definitely in the ‘hotel’ stage of parenting.
My father used to accuse me of the same behaviour when I was in the late teens. I remember how much I hurt him one year I partied too hard on Christmas Eve, returned to ‘the hotel’ in the wee hours, and slept through his perfectly planned Christmas morning, without a smidgen of guilt or compassion.
As a parent, it’s hard to remember how self-centred you can be as a teenager, although I suppose those halcyon days when you only came home to meet your needs of money, clean clothes, a decent meal, or maybe a hug, are a once in a lifetime perk.
What’s easier to understand, in hindsight, is the desperation our parents felt about seeing us, which made them willing to overlook our selfishness.
NC went one step further this year. She spent Christmas Eve with her boyfriend’s parents and family. As in, she had one Christmas with them and then tagged reluctantly along to our second-rate Christmas the following day.
Maybe, she should ask HIS mother to do her washing now, I wondered when she chose to return
HIS sister gave her a Victoria’s Secret bikini for Christmas, whereas Santa gave her a Kmart one; the boyfriend bought her a dress that fitted and flattered her figure, whereas mine hung off her like an ill-fitting sheet; he had a gorgeous niece that made her feel all warm and clucky, we had Kurt.
He came to ours on Christmas Day, played a perfunctory game of Monopoly, (with what I am convinced was a smug grin plastered over his nerdy face, and then dragged her back to his den of iniquity for their final forty-eight hours together before she left for Thailand.
When one of his tee-shirts found its way into my washing pile the other day, NC made a joke about him not getting it back for at least six months. OUCH!
They came back to us for her last precious hours before her flight, kissed and slobbered over each other at the airport, and all we got was a reminder of her bank account number in case she needed more money. During the awkward car ride back from the airport, I could hear his phone pinging with her texts because she was clearly missing him already. My phone lay embarrassingly silent in my handbag.
I’m not quite ready for her to discard me yet. I miss not having her around to nag about the state of her room and her critiques of my food. I miss watching the bond between her and the old man, being the butt of their jokes, and shopping together, even if I’m only there to pay.
Perhaps, these five weeks away will give me time to adjust. Maybe I should demonstrate some maturity, remove the photo of her boyfriend from our dartboard, and embrace him like she has.
Otherwise I will lose her.