I'm 21 years old now, and I haven't lived with you guys for around three years. When I was just over the age of 18, I moved out and tried desperately to spread my wings of independence and run away from the strings that held me—I tried to run from being "bound" to (what I, immaturely, thought to be) the oppressive shackles of childhood.
Desperate for utter and complete independence, I threw up defiant walls of "I've got this!" and "I'm an adult; you can't tell me what to do anymore!" You told me that I should keep my apartment clean, and I left clothes on the floor as an act of, what was it again? Oh, yes, independence.
In the name of "independence," I only gave you short responses on what was happening in my life. "How was work?" "Good." "What are you doing this weekend?" "Not sure."
In the name of "independence," I rarely visited because that hour and a half was basically the world away—how dare I miss something of little importance here in my studio apartment with my cats. What if my friends wanted to do last-minute hangs?
In the name of "independence," I took you for granted.
You know what the sad thing is, though? I didn't even notice. I do now.
Now I know that you guys are my biggest supporters—even when we don't see eye to eye on the level of order in my apartment. Now I know that you guys devoted 18 years of your life to ensure that I grew up to be an equipped, strong, and independent young woman.
Now I know that independence doesn't mean neglect. Independence means that I have the opportunity to choose to show you guys the same love and support that you have so generously bestowed upon me these 21 years. Independence means that I choose to take the time and drive to your house to share dinner with you and catch up on how you're doing.
Independence means understanding that I am not the center of the universe (despite every youngest child's belief).
We don't always get along—that's a given—and we won't always agree on my life choices (see: nose piercing), but I know one thing that will always remain true: you guys are my parents, and I will always be your little girl.
Mom and dad, I took you for granted, and I'm so sorry for that. It took me 21 years, but I promise you that your constant love, support, and correction are not unnoticed or unappreciated.
Looks like you're stuck with me for a while. I love you guys.