“Hi honeeeyyy! So have you talked to your sister about July?”
“Mom, what? What’s happening in July?”
“You’re coming home. You and your sister are going to come up to Maine.”
“Uh, we are?”
I shouldn’t have been surprised when talking on the phone with my mother last week because stuff like this is typical mom-behavior. You know, telling you what to do, or making plans and then “informing” you of them, rather than scheduling them. Ever since I knew I might stay in Paris for a few extra months, I also knew I’d probably want to make a trip home at some point, but hadn’t gotten that far yet. With my mom on my back about July—not a month I would have picked for travel to the U.S.—it’s started to remind me of this weird relationship space I’m entering with my parents, one that I don’t know how to negotiate yet.I’ve been financially independent from my parents since I moved to Paris. It’s something that I didn’t anticipate happening so quickly because a) I haven’t been a very responsible money person in the past, and b) as the youngest child, I’m pretty close with my parents and in some ways have felt I wouldn’t be able to do things without them. But my monetary independence has caused me to turn a corner with them. I seriously surprised myself last month when I was slapped with a pretty substantial tax payment, and was able to handle it on my own. Yet I don’t think my parents have come to a place where they understand they’re not supporting me anymore. My trip to Israel was actually a huge battle with them because Mom absolutely insisted I come home for Passover (not like I had once come home for the Jewish holiday during college). It took a lot of fighting back and convincing to explain to her that I wouldn’t be coming, and that I was doing something else on my own. I’m now finding myself in the same situation again, fighting a demand, and it makes me feel powerless and tired.
Of course I want to see my parents, and of course I miss them. But selfishly, I am in the middle of “my time.” I’ve been looking forward to a few things this summer—one, a trip to the south of France in July. My friend’s husband’s family has a chateau, and she’s having a big party (awesome, yes, but I swear, every French family has a chateau). Second, I have a generous Swiss Air travel credit that was given to me when I was bumped off my flight to Tel Aviv. It would be stupid not to use it, and it would just cover the cost of a plane ticket to Italy. Two days in Venice, two in Rome, perhaps?
True, I guess I’ve been a bit caught up in my own planning. However, I just feel confused about whether I should be doing what my family wants/asks or starting to stand my own ground more often now. Have you ever experienced this weird in-between place with your parents?