Do you remember being a college kid and visiting home and feeling like you were a kid walking into Disneyland except a boring version (that you secretly had come to prefer) where instead of rides there were pets and home cooked food and a mom that wanted to do your laundry for you? And you know how, even as an adult, getting to go home for holidays and have a home cooked meal that you swear must contain opiates because you could never get anything you throw in an oven to taste that good is something you look forward to? Seriously, how do moms know how to make food that actually tastes like something you’re eating for more than staying alive?
I still love going home for those reasons. I LOVE dogs but can’t justify getting one because of the whole small apartment thang, and cats are just dicks. But my parents’ home is where the animals are. It’s where the food that tastes like childhood is. However, now the reverse can happen: your parents can come visit you. And this visit is simply not the same. This visit is all about ascertaining what kind of adult you’re becoming, or if you’re even becoming a responsible adult at all. I mean, it’s also to see you because your parents [probably] love you and also need a vacation, but it all FEELS like a test. So, here are some things that always happen in preparation and for the duration of a parental visitation:
1: Hide the drugs, hide the booze.
Well, when you’re me, at least, hiding the booze is also necessary. And timing booze purchases around your parents’ trips also becomes necessary, which I failed to do this time. Good thing it’s Halloween weekend! For some reason, having a Halloween party is so much more reasonable than a ‘my parents are coming and I still have too much booze for myself’ party (but let’s be real, I’m not having a Halloween party. I’m going to get drunk watching Hocus Pocus in my pajamas while eating all the Halloween candy I bought for the children I knew wouldn’t come by because I live in a young-person apartment complex. If I can’t be honest with you, Internet, who CAN I be honest with.). Alternatively, hide the good stuff you’re keeping for yourself under your bed, just like when you were a kid and had something awesome to hide from your parents…I guess not much really changes. (Bonus: you can take a swig privately at night to take some of the edge off. Or in the morning if you’re Irish.)
I’m also dreading the morning my mom wakes up before me and tries to make coffee. “Nonononono, Mom! Not THAT coffee canister!!!! Why? Uhhh, no reason…it’s…uh…decaf!! Yeah. Decaf. Totally decaf. Definitely zero drugs of any kind in there.”
2- Food shopping is now about ingredients and not pre-made junk.
To pass secret parental test number 2, you have to make at least one homemade meal that doesn’t taste like dog shit and indicates some amount of awareness for health by including at least one vegetable. I mean, part of the dating world/staying alive is that you should know how to prepare at least one meal anyway, so this should be simple enough. But who keeps ingredients on hand? Who can afford actual meat unless it’s for a special occasion, like entertaining a guest of some sort? Or if you’re part of DINKs. Lucky bastards. LITTLE DO YOUR PARENTS KNOW (actually they probably totally know, parents seem to know everything they’re not supposed to), you looked up a lot of Food Network recipes and made a shopping list in preparation for their one home-cooked meal from you. And then forgot said shopping list on the countertop when you went to the grocery store and bought the few things you thought you remembered being in the recipe and went home and said FUCK IT because GOD DAMMIT YOU DID YOUR BEST.
Once all the greeting and pleasantries are exchanged and the “I’m so glad you’re/I’m here!!”s have subsided, and you’ve fed your parent, foolishly refueling them back to their most powerful state, the questioning begins.
How are you? Good!
No, how ARE you? Fine.
Who’re your friends? I don’t know, people? I don’t really have any.
Where do you hang out? Uhhhh [mostly bars] mostly each others’ apartments.
Are you seeing anyone? LOL.
Tell me about all your dating lately. Well, I see my bartender across the street a lot…
Do you have a dentist yet? Weeeeeell….
When’s the last time you had a physical? Uhhhhhhhhh….
Are you eating properly? No, but I am eating a LOT.
Why do you have a lighter? DO YOU SMOKE?! Smoke what?
I already went through your medicine cabinet, since when are you taking anxiety meds? When did you get here?
4- Showing your parents a good time.
If you live a significant distance from your parents, you’ll want to show off this incredible place that you live, and make sure they have a good time. Of course, when you ask if there’s anything they’d like to do, the answer is always, “Oh, I’m just here to see you! You know I’m happy to do whatever,” which is of absolutely ZERO help. Thanks, Mom. Plus, let’s focus on the part where you are showing them ANYTHING. I normally do absolutely nothing all weekend, and that’s all I usually want to do on the weekend. But no. I feel obligated to DO something now. Like shower. And be up before noon. Don’t they know I’m only pretending to be an adult and I don’t actually function like one?! Plus, throw in the time change, and timezone differences…
Oh, and to triple the pressure, my mom will be here for her birthday. BUT YEAH TOTALLY DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING SPECIAL.
5- Showing your parents an appropriate time.
Well, we could go to this bar I really like–ohwait no we can’t…–this restaurant makes really good mojitos–shit…–well we went to this museum last time you were here…and that one…and we’ve already done Pike Place, but we can do that again…there’s always coffee shops? And bakeries? And shopping? Basically we’re just going to eat a lot and watch Gilmore Girls. Fortunately, we both really like doing those things.
Plus, then there’s the to and from airport logistics you have to work out. And of course, scheduling a flight to land right at rush hour was the cheapest option. And scheduling a super early departure was obviously the cheapest…can’t I just send you off in an Uber?!
But really, it’ll be great to see my mom again. And I have a pretty impressive day planned for her birthday…massages, fancy dinner, luxurious spa…what can I say, I’m a kickass hostess daughter. But that doesn’t make having visitors any less stressful, especially after just moving in to a new apartment where nothing feels put together. As excited as I am to see her, I’ll be equally excited when the 5 days are over and I can go back to my strict no-pants, no-alarm-clocks-on-the-weekends policy.