I will admit it: I called home nearly every day this past semester. But it wasn’t because I was homesick or because I needed anything (even though I would sometimes pick my brain apart trying to come up with something I needed or a question I wanted to ask so my mom wouldn’t think I called without purpose). I just love chatting with my mom and dad.

It is understandable, then, why I was greatly anticipating my return home over Christmas Break. The mental image of my reunion with parents and siblings was a happy one: embraces, laughs, easy conversation. In fact, I pictured the entire break as one big joke-chuckle-hug-sing-play-game fest.

I suppose you could call the reality of my break thus far a disillusionment. Don’t get me wrong: there have been many laughs and hugs, and plenty of singing around the piano and playing games. But things are … different.

I arrived home last Wednesday at 3:00AM. I opened the door to my room, only to find my three brothers sprawled out in their beds asleep.
“Umm…Dad?” I began.
“Oh, we’ve made a few changes since last time you were home, Kaitlin. You’ll have to sleep on the couch tonight, and tomorrow we’ll put Taylor’s old mattress in the toy room for you to sleep on.”
“I don’t have a bed?”
Dad laughed. “Well, Kaitlin, you don’t live here anymore!”

True that.

So that first night, I accepted (quite gracefully I think) the fact that I was now a guest in my own home. It had to happen at some point. Besides, there is a positive side to being the “guest.” No chores, little responsibility … a perfect episode of relaxation in between semesters.

But not.

“Kaitlin, will you go clean up your stuff in the toy room?”

The question caught me off guard a little bit. The last time I was asked to clean up my room was last summer: the last time I lived at home. Certainly, no one had asked this of me in Rexburg. The funny thing is, my room in Rexburg is nearly spotless.

“Kaitlin, wake up! It’s nearly 9:30! Good grief, I hope you don’t sleep in this late every day in college.”

True, it is nearly 9:30, but it’s vacation. Besides, I’m a guest, right? And just so you know, I wake up at least by 7:30 Sunday-Friday when I’m at college.

“Kaitlin, maybe you should go running today.”
Maybe. But somehow, I just don’t have the motivation. In Rexburg, however, I go at least four times a week.

Indeed, the break has not exactly played out as I had imagined it would. I love my family, but I do not love the guest-but-still-a-child role they have flung upon me. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. The Lord is telling me it is time to grow up and move on, and I am ready to do so.


Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

If it's any consolation, this time coming home has been much more pleasant, mostly because I had an explosion last time and mom told dad to stay out of my way. It's been nice, sleeping until I want and knowing when I should go to be without being told and leaving and driving around without having to justify my excursions.

What you need is a good freak out. Raise your voice in a controlled way and use precise, cutting complaints. That seemed to work.

iBo said...

Hey everyone! Katilin has joined our club of displaced college students who have no room in their own homes anymore! Yaaaaaaaaay! (ok i was saving up all the exclamation points in the year for that comment)

I feel much the same way Kaitlin. It's really kind of funny the kind of things my parents still tell me to do. "Brush your teeth!" I mean really? I hate being told to get dressed, get ready for this or that. I've somehow managed the past 5 years without problem, I don't think coming home will make me forget how to survive.

And of course there's plenty of times where it seems to my parents that whatever I do is wrong. If I put the shovel on the left side of the garage instead of the right, it's wrong. Stuff like that. They stress a lot. I guess my reaction to that has been to just not worry that much about stupid things like that.

But they have given me a lot of space because they are starting to recognize that I'm not their 17 year old that left home for the first time 5 years ago. It's taken a while but it's come. I love my parents and their wisdom, yet the more time I spend here, the more I realise i don't belong here anymore.

Britt said...

Firstly, I would just like to say that I hope you are nowhere near taking Matt's advice. Cutting complaints? I hope that was a joke.
But I do know a to some degree how you feel. Only it's a little different for me. My mother has pulled a switch in my role too, only now she thinks of me a second mother. "Britt if you get some extra time could you make bread for the neighbors?" What is that about? Of course I do it because...well...I have tons of extra time. And I drop off and pick up my little sister, somtimes I go to the bank for my mom. Just little things like that.
However, she also still feels a little need to parent me but I find myself oddly enjoying it. I kind of like it when my mom reminds me to "WATCH FOR CARS" when I jump out of her car on my way into the grocery store. It makes me laugh because I know that as old as I get my mom will always think that I am just going to run blindly in to the street. Moms, their just funny.

Anonymous said...

Ivor, you only managed to save up two exclamation points from the entire year? What have you been doing with them?

And just so everyone knows, it never stops. When my grandmother used to visit, every night around 10:00 she'd tell my mom to go to bed, despite the fact that my mom was in her 40's and had seven kids.

Em & Ev said...

It's true - it doesn't stop. My sweet grandma still asks my dad if he is warm enough and if he's getting enough to eat. He's 58.

It's hard when you go home expecting to be "home" and things are different. My parents still call my old room "Em's room," but I've noticed that little by little all of my things are slowly being put into boxes in the closet - first the quotes that were stuck on the mirror and the little things hanging on my walls, and now my favorite blankets are gone and an ordinary flowered bedspread is on the bed. Sometimes it looks more like a hotel room than my room; everything is plain and not mine. It's not anyone's anymore... it's just a guest room. Sometimes I want to dig out all of my old things and put them back up. I wonder what they would say?

Eric James said...

My room was on fast forward when i left for my mission. My dad asked me to help move my dresser out a week before I left to make room for his computer servers. I know!

Maybe that is why I feel I can live anywhere and not have any "home" ties to a certain place.

iBo said...

Crystal, I've been selling exclamation points on the side on the black market. You should try it sometime. Brings in a good buck.

Eric, I had to move out of my own room and pack everything up in boxes before I left on my mission too. Tragic.

Alyssa said...

It doesn't seem to get any better after being married either. Yesterday my mom called me into the kitchen and said, "Your husband's hungry, you should make him a sandwich." Thanks Mom.

I think all parents act this way just because they've been parents for so long. They're probably just so used to telling their children what to do.

All of the kids are "out of the house" in my family now and I think my mom just isn't ready to give up her lifestyle as a full-time mother.

Jacob said...

Well in response to Matt's first comment, I don't think a good freak out will solve all of the problem. True, it will help Kaitlin, or anyone of us, get some of the dignity of adulthood back, but it won't replace the loss of home. Even if you're allowed to stay out all night, and your parents never make comments they way they did when you still lived at home, in the end, you still don't have your bed.

It is interesting because I struggle with this even more now that I am married. I know that Alyssa and I have started our own home, but it hurts to to say goodbye to your mom and dad and put everything into a new life. Alyssa is wonderful, and I trust her enough to do this. Yet this is a feeling I can't express very well. It is as if I don't have any home at all.

This Christmas my parents didn't invite us for dinner on the 25th because they didn't want to impose on our plans, even though we are at my in-laws, 50 minutes away. I feel welcomed by Alyssa's family, but not a part of it yet, and I feel like the new home I'm building with Alyssa isn't completed yet either, needing more time to mature.

I feel homeless at those awkward moments where my ideas don't fit in well with that of my in-laws, and I feel abandoned by my family because they don't want to step on toes. Thankfully Alyssa helps me through this, but it is still hard to come home as a guest. Thanks for your post Kaitlin.

Jacob said...

By the way, Alyssa makes great sandwiches.

Katie said...

I can really relate, here, Kaitlin. I've found I get excited to go home (20 min away) and once I get there, I feel ready to 'grow up.'

Also, you always have a little attitude in yoru posts; I think it's great. "True that." hahaha...

Katie said...


Ivor, I like how you put this; I agree: "I love my parents and their wisdom, yet the more time I spend here, the more I realize I don't belong here anymore" and I'll add 'and I want to move on.'

So question: what did you guys feel like on your missions?

Dan said...

I'm at home in Orem. Well, I'm in Orem. I'm no longer a guest in my own house: I am the master of the house. In fact, I am the only one in the house--and the house is empty. It's not bad, really... maybe a little boring, but not bad.

Natorade said...

Thats such a Dan comment Dan. Too lazy to form a distinct opinion! jk. Kaitlin! I know how you feel! When I got back from my mission, our house was practically a motel 6, well, 8. Were better off than a 6. Anyways, I slept in the loft in my house waking up with the earliest and falling asleep the latest. Home really has turned into the place my family is. Nice attitude about coping with it. I want to post a bill of rights on my door. I'm just having a hard time going back into family mode.

Kaitlin said...

Well, it is certainly good to know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Because I kinda felt like a jerk after posting this.

Jacob and Alyssa, it is so great to see you commenting. I really learn a lot from the two of you--more than you realize, I think--and it was very interesting to read your ideas from the married side of things.

Okay, so my mom asked me what I was doing as I was posting this, but I wouldn't let her read it. She has been nagging me about it all day, so I finally let her read it and she feels really bad, even though I told her there is no reason for her to feel so. Anyway, she said to PLEEEAAASE tell you all something nice she does for me. She is so funny. Really, the list goes on and on and on and on of her kind acts, but I will share one with you to put her mind at rest. My mom is a listener. Tonight, for instance, I went into her room and we just chatted and laughed for a half an hour. I love her.

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

Dan, how long are you alone in Orem? Because I'm looking for a place to stay in the area where I don't really have to interact much with my host and I can feel just fine about that.

I could pay you. And finally take you to lunch. Twice.

Dan said...

I don't know how long I'm going to be here exactly... Maybe another week? You can come stay at my big, empty house if you want, but there's no furniture and no bed for you to sleep in. Also, I watched the movie Home Alone, so don't try to break in. The whole place is booby trapped.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ky ky said...

Kaitlin, I know how you feel too. And my mom kept coming around when I was posting my complaint as well. Everytime I read all these posts I see how everyone really is going through the same things (akward sentence, sorry). It's an amazing time in our lives, but it can also be so lame...

meghan & jason said...

What horrible advice, Matt. Kaitlin, I sure hope you didn't take that. I remember feeling much the same when I went home--like a memory quickly pushed aside by the present. I felt like that on Christmas a few years ago and snuck into another room to call Sister Morgan. When I wished her a Merry Christmas, she launched into a pre-blood essay session about how no one with healthy feelings about her family would even THINK to call her boss on Christmas because she'd be too busy enjoying her family. Well, Sister Morgan, guess what? This year I completely forgot to tell you Merry Christmas until the day after Christmas. I enjoyed my family--Jason's family at least. I hope that you're glad, not hurt. And I hope you got my text that day since I lost my phone.

Now my question is will anyone ever see this comment? I realize I'm posting nine days after the very last person who did, and so I'll bet no one does. Since I NEVER write on the blog though, it would be nice to know if anyone reads it when I do post. (So maybe let me know? By email would be nice since I always forget to read the blog. Ha. Just kidding. I'll do better.)

P.S. I miss you all.

meghan & jason said...

By the way, Matt and Dan, your short dialogue about living in that empty booby-trapped house made me laugh aloud. Jason looked at me funny, which reminded me of what you said, which made me laugh more.