Home. My safe place. The place that calls to me when I am stressed or lonely or sad. The place that fills me with happiness and nostalgia. I will be home in less than a month. But this time, I know it will be different. There is no way it can be the same as it was because I have spent the last 10 months living on my own. No one telling me to clean my room or do my laundry. No one asking me to lower the television. No one asking me what time I will be home when I go out. Freedom. Independence. Autonomy. Self-government. Perfection in its truest form.
Don't get me wrong. My parents are great. They have always encouraged me to be independent, and they have always trusted me. However, they will comment on my room if my laundry bin is getting too full. They never miss an opportunity to tell me my showers are too long, and that the water bill is going up while the lake is emptying because of all the water I am wasting. I haven't had to hear any of this for almost a year, and, to be honest, it's been nice.
We leave home to go away to college, and even though we are 18, we really are not an adult. I didn't feel like one when I first left home, but I feel so much more like one now. For 10 months, I have had to do it all on my own. No one woke me up to go to class. No one reminded me to do my homework. No one did my laundry for me. Sure, my family is only a phone call or text message away, but I pride myself on standing on my own two feet. I got a job here on campus because I like making my own money. I love the feeling I get when I want to buy something, and I don't have to "ask permission." I love being able to buy my family gifts and know that it's coming from me — that I am paying for it with the money I earned. I lined up a couple of jobs for the summer while I was home from spring break, so I am ready. Adulting here I am.
I will always be respectful of my parents, and I know they will be respectful of me, but I am trying to prepare myself for the adjustment of being an adult living with her parents. I know they are trying to prepare themselves as well. They went through it. My father went into the Marine Corps right after high school, and when he returned from overseas three years later, it took some adjusting. My mother went away to school just like I did. She and her parents had to find common ground, so I am confident we will too. We may hit some rough patches or experience some turbulence, but nothing we can't handle. We always work through things. We always have.
All this aside, I am looking forward to spending time with my family, having home cooked meals, enjoying downtime with my dogs, sleeping in MY bed, and using my own private bathroom! With each passing year, I am sure it will get easier and easier until the day I move out permanently. It seems so far off in the distance, but my first year of college just went by in the blink of an eye, so am I sure the next few years will fly by as well. However, it's really nice knowing that no matter how old I am, I will always be able to go home — the comfortable, safe, welcoming place my parents have made for me and my sister. Just like Dorothy said, "There no place like home," and she went back after spending time in Oz.