It is the strangest feeling when your parents come to stay. It isn’t something you think about when you move out of home: that your parents will want to come over to your new home, have dinner and will sometimes stay the night.
When we were younger and living at home we had to help out around the house: clean our rooms, help out in the kitchen, hoover, dust etc, etc… These were things we didn’t want to do but did them anyway for either pocket money, or to gain favour with our parents before we asked to borrow the car and/or money.
We never used to worry about dinner, it was normally just cooked and laid out on the table. Most of us had our mothers to do the washing for us, until they said it was about time we learnt how to look after ourselves. Most of the time the housework was just done, whether or not we helped out. And then we move out. We move out of home, and its all up to us to look after ourselves and do all the housework and cooking without parents.
You spend a couple of months getting your footing, finally getting the hang of day to day life: food shopping, washing, house cleaning, getting into a routine and being content with how we run our own households. So why is it that when our parents notify us that they will be coming over for dinner and/or stay the night we panic, and begin to doubt everything?
We scrub the bathroom three times over and bleach everything. We dust and hoover the entire place even though we only did it the other day. We not only wash and change the bed sheets but we iron them too, something that we don’t even do to our own bed sheets. We fuss over every tiny detail: moving furniture so it looks straight, and fluffing pillows so they look plumb. And then last but not least over stock the cupboards and fridge making sure that there is enough to eat and drink. Then we panic about dinner: what should I cook? Should I make dessert or buy it? Can I remember what my parents like to eat? I hope I don’t burn it.
But what is remarkable still is that when our parents actually arrive they don’t care: they don’t care what your place looks like, as long as its tidy. They don’t mind where you’ve put your furniture, because its your place and not theirs. They don’t care about fluffed pillows, because when they sit down on the sofa they sit on the pillows and flatten then anyway.
And then there’s dinner. It never mattered what you cooked for you parents or whether or not you made or brought the desert. They are going to eat it anyway. Even if it’s a little burnt or if you have over cooked the veggies a bit, they will still eat it. They will even join you for a glass of wine with dinner and engage in lively conversations and reminisce on their first experiences when they first moved out of home and how badly they screwed up.
Parents are funny people. Just when you think you have them pegged as those perfect people who never make mistakes and have a perfect home that’s always clean, they go ahead and surprise you by showing you that they’re human. That they make mistakes and have not always been perfect. That they have had to learn from their mistakes just as we are now. Either way no matter what happens on a visit from your parents, they will always show you how proud they are of you for making it on your own. For showing them in return that you have learnt from their teachings from when you were living at home with them.
Parents are human too.
Everyone had to start out somewhere. We start my watching our parents from mimicking their actions through chorus, and then learning from them in our own homes.
No matter how old you are, or whether you have a family of your own; having your parents come to stay with you will always make you question yourself and how you live your lifestyle.
Having your parents come to stay with you is always a time for panic; you wonder how they will react when they see your place. You panic that nothing seems clean enough; that you will mess up dinner or that some other disaster will befall you. Either way your parents don’t care. They just want to see you, and to make sure that you're happy.