out of the nest, it's time....

On Display Collab, March 2000.
Out of the Nest
Topic: "Security"

When I left for college last fall, I wasn't your average homesick college freshman. My thoughts were more along the lines of, "Get me the fuck out of here, you're all driving me crazy." I'm sure I was driving my family crazy as well. I didn't miss them for a while. Not until I went back home for the first time in October did I realize how things within my family had changed because I was gone.

Maybe it's just sensitization from being away from her, but my sister has become an incredible bitch who treats my parents like trash and is never home, taking refuge in her large circle of friends and of course, her BOYFRIEND. When my parents were planning to visit me here last Sunday, I was thoroughly surprised that she was coming. "Not of her own will," my mother informed me. Of course, she was moody, rude and downright nasty at some points, nearly ruining the afternoon for us at some points. I mean, we never really got along too well because of our vastly different points of view, but never has she been so callous and uncaring that I've detested being around her like I do now.

I said to her over Christmas break once that your family is the most important thing in your life, which is a fact I didn't realize until I was at college. She scoffed at this and said some wise ass remark. But it's true, at least for me. You really don't realize what you got til it's gone. That safety net I had in my family fell away, at least in day to day affairs. I, unlike her, never had a close knit group of friends, and ended up spending more time with my parents than most high schoolers do. I preferred their company over people my age, and the advantage was that I know my parents a lot better than Lauren ever will.

My Dad...well, my Dad still puzzles me. For as much as we are alike, there are still parts of him that I don't understand and reactions he has that I don't understand. I think it's mostly just me swimming around, trying to find a happy medium, a place of peace and mutual understanding with each other. Our relationship is better now that I'm away at school. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I get letters and emails from my mother frequently. She sounds happy, but reading in between in the lines I get the feeling that something at home has changed without me. The dynamic of our family has shifted. Her role has changed too, without me there. I don't think Lauren talks to Mom, and I think maybe she misses that, because my Mom and I always talked. She gets kind of weird and possessive whenever I'm at home, stressing the all important Quality Time. Which, in and of itself is not a bad thing, it's just a different sensation to have her need me that much. I didn't realize how important I was to my mother.

I think it was less about leaving the nest and more about taking my piece of the family with me when I left. Then the rest of pieces had to shift around to accommodate the hole that remained. It's true, I've lost some of the security that family can bring, but they've also lost the security that I bring to them. I always thought family security was a one way street, but now I know it's give and take.