A few weeks ago I drove 11 hours to visit my parents in Atlanta. I had been meaning to have my car looked at by our mechanic, and an interview in Atlanta offered a good opportunity. It was a long drive, but I passed the time listening to news radio and, for about an hour in South Carolina, rocking out to a local Country station. I left at an absurdly early hour, so I got in in the late afternoon—my dad and sister knew I was coming, but my mom had no idea. After she yelled at me for keeping it a secret from her, she admitted she was glad I was visiting.
It was the first time, I think, that I felt like a “real” adult while at my parent’s. Sure, my old room was converted into a guest room four years ago, and I have been living pretty independently since junior year, but for the first time, I felt like a guest as much as a daughter. It was nothing outright—maybe it was in the little differences, although I am not quite sure what they are.
It’s strange how people evolve. In a moment of reminiscing, I pulled out some old photo albums one afternoon and looked at photos from elementary school. At 23, I’m the oldest daughter, and it is weird to think that my parents were my age when they had me. My dad likes to joke that I was the “beta version” (insinuating my little sister is the better version, of course). In a way, it’s true. Every experience, every new thing I learned, was new for them, too. Even this is new for them, and I can only imagine what it is like for them to have an adult child.
When I left to come back here, something even stranger happened, though. As I walked through my front door, I thought, “Oh, it’s nice to be home.” I caught myself as I thought it. I live in a house with two other girls, and while it’s a nice place, I had never thought of it as home.
For most of my post-high school life, my parent’s house was home. No matter where I was—New York, Boston, DC—my parent’s house was home. I know it’s not anything monumental, but it’s a pretty big moment for me.