Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Befriending my parents

By Steph Tahtinen

By STEPH TAHTINEN

Mt. Pleasant News

Last week I was cleaning out my email inbox and I came across a series of emails Mom and I sent to each other last spring. At the time I was unemployed and living with my parents, and I was helping her out by creating fliers and brochures for the library she works at and then emailing them to her at work.

I found these emails funny, because while they mostly concerned the work I was doing, there were random sentences such as when I wrote, “I’ll do that after I’m done jazzercising and showering. By the way, I have a load of whites in the washer to hang on the line since it’s nice out.” Or, from Mom, “Can you make glazed carrots for supper?”

I was hesitant to delete these emails. Although they were no longer necessary, I wanted to keep them for nostalgic purposes, which is funny because I never thought I would have been nostalgic for that period of my life.

I graduated from college in December 2009. To put it lightly, it was not the best economy to be job hunting in. So, I did what many members of my generation did.

I moved back in with Mom and Dad.

This trend was becoming so common that sociologists had a name for it: We were the boomerang generation. In a survey published in November 2009, an estimated 20 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 were living with their parents, about 30 percent of that age group. I discovered this fact while writing a paper on boomerang kids for a creative writing class shortly before graduation. I wrote the paper as a kind of therapy, a way to make myself not feel so bad about moving back in with my parents. I was resigned to my fate, but not very happy about it.

For 10 months I lived with my parents before I moved to Mt. Pleasant. At the time they were the longest 10 months of my life. I hated when I ran into somebody I knew and they asked what I was up to now. I came up with a strategy that I shared with a friend who moved back home in March: If at all possible, only be seen in public on the weekends. Then people assume you’re just visiting for the weekend, rather than living with your parents indefinitely.

Yet, although I dreaded it beforehand and hated it during, afterwards I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a boomerang kid.

Although I was impatient to start my own life, living with my parents wasn’t that bad. The three of us had always been close. Moving back in after college, that same close camaraderie formed again. Yet, it was different. I began to relate to them more as an adult than their daughter.

That’s not to say they didn’t occasionally slip into the parent role. One time we got out of the car and Mom grabbed my hand until I reminded her that I was perfectly able to cross the street myself.

I guess I can’t fault maternal instinct. I’ll always be their little girl. But I’m glad we’ve also had the opportunity to become friends.