Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can one of the "chicks" have empty nest syndrome??

I just sat down to dinner after about 9 hours of traveling (4.5 driving back from MD to NYC, dropping off the pup with the boyfriend, then driving back out to Newark airport to return the rental car, then taking three forms of public transportation to get back to my apt) and yet I am in a strangely peaceful mood. This is the feeling I always have just prior to, during, and directly after each trip home to my childhood home in Annapolis, MD.

It's a strange thing, being a grown up and yet of course, still "someone's child". As the youngest of four, my family nickname has always been "Bebe" and this is still what everyone related to me calls me, despite the fact that in my REAL life, I am a strong, mature and independent career woman (lol). This is not one of those dreaded nicknames that is used to embarass and infantalize a younger sibling. I actually love hearing my family call me bebe, especially my dad and my oldest brother who both have very distinctive voices and methods of delivery (Dad: "BehBeh", Bro: "Behbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay").

When I am home, I feel like a baby bird going to its nest. I am fed, petted, praised, cared for and amused. I have different leisure activities reserved for each parent- Dad: exercise, dog-walking, dog-feeding, dog-worshipping, wine drinking, Mom: shopping, "shopping" through items at home that she has pre-purchased for me pending my approval, discussing pop culture, comparing beauty regimes, staying up late, giggling, tv watching. I often make plans to see other people while I'm in town and I always flake. I simply can't tear myself away from my nest. There is something so comforting about being there with them, appreciating all the stuff I took for granted when I was younger. And man did I ever. When I was 14-18 I think I actually believed my dad and I had NOTHING in common and we'd never relate to one another (and now, I realize that I'm basically 80% my dad with a 20% dash of my mom's whimsy and style) and that my mom just didn't "get me" and wasn't cool enough to drop me off at the mall, let alone shop with me (not only is my mom the most intuitive/borderline psychic person I've ever met, she is also the one of the most beautiful, classy and I like her more than any of my best friends). Now when I'm home, I tell them as often as possible how much I love them and appreciate them and basically just soak up the wonderfulness of being with my mommy and daddy. Apart from all the affection, I can now FULLY understand the ridiculous financial undertaking that raising me and my siblings was! Damn yo, I have enough trouble paying for my own damn self, let alone FOUR kids and basically a jillion dollars in college tuition.

Now that we're all grown and both my older siblings are married and living with their spouses, I'm the last little chicken still coming home to the roost. I wonder if one day...perhaps when I get married...I will feel weird coming home and being a "kid" and being called "Bebe" and calling my dad "daddy" in public and lounging around in sweats waiting for one parent to drive me to the dogpark or the mall and ignoring my blackberry. Man...I really hope not. Sure, I want to have my own kid one day, but I never want to lose the ability to revert to "bebeness". I kind of feel like Winona Ryder (er, I mean Jo) in Little Women when she freaks out about everyone moving on...remember that scene? (Little Women = one of my favorite movies, and I think my sister's too?.) Maybe it's a youngest child thing? Or maybe I just get tired of being the head of a single parent household...feeding and housing and clothing myself (and Lala) is quite taxing, and goddamnit sometimes I just don't wanna be an adult!! I wonder how my mom and dad feel, truly having an "empty nest" and if they appreciate me going into full-on kid mode every once in awhile? I hope they do! Cuz I ain't quittin anytime soon!

So yah, I'm glad I'm not like, "The Entertainer" living in my parent's basement nor do I wish I had stayed closer to home and found a job in the MD/DC area. I love Annapolis and all but I am a New Yorker...a Manhattanite no less and I do not thrive when I'm anywhere but here. However, I sometimes do feel like the little lost baby penguin in my favorite film (The Great Chipmunk Adventure). Watch THIS AMAZING CLIP and please don't feel embarassed if you cry.

All I know is I hope that everyone who is lucky enough to have a great relationship with their parents appreciates how lucky they are!! I know I do. Love you mommy and daddy, love Bebe.