Now that I am of what is considered ‘adult’ age, many of my friends have started talking about leaving home. Some of my high school buddies moved out long ago and have even started families. This is obviously a stage in life that everyone experiences sooner or later.
One of the most common reasons my age-mates have suggested is that they clash very strongly with one (or both) of their parents. They are sick of being bossed around and they just need space and freedom. When this happens, I find they don’t always make the best decisions. They are so intent on running as far away as they can that they don’t realize where they are going.
Sometimes they make off with some would-be drug dealer or with a complete idiot, because “anything is better than home”. Like many people out there, when they hit 40, they realize they made a terrible mistake.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When I was quite young (maybe 4 or 5 years old), my mom told me that one day I would have a family of my own and live in a house of my own. And I said to her, “Mom, don’t be silly, I’m always going to live at home with you and Dad”.
Of course, now I know it’s true that one day I will leave home. The thought is quite scary and it might not happen anytime soon, but it surely will one day. One of the things I always promised myself is that until I had something wonderful to go to, a life I wanted to start, I wouldn’t leave.
I am about 8 centimeters taller than my mother is and I still ask her to reach for things that I’m not tall enough to get. Last semester, when things didn’t quite work out the way I wanted with my university timetable, I told my mom about it nearly 10 times throughout the week, even though she really couldn’t do anything about it.
Sometimes, when I need help with my homework, I ask my dad for help, even though he was never in the lesson and might not have heard of whatever I am talking about. Or when the computer doesn’t work the way I want it to or I just deleted my entire assignment, I turn to my dad for help even though I know that sometimes nothing can be done.
Even my siblings are a source of comfort and strength for me. What would I do without Tsoof’s constant jokes and endless variety of sounds? Or how could I be without Noff and her bubbly stories and adventures.
I love my family and I really couldn’t imagine my life without them. And I believe that when you take that huge step of leaving home, it needs to be for the right reasons. It needs to be because you have something fantastic to go to, something that is pulling you towards it rather than a horrible family that is pushing you away.
I am able to make this decision because my family is amazing. They are always there for me – when I am sad, happy, frustrated or whatever. Sometimes, they are in my business. Sometimes, they are in my way. But they are always my comfort zone, my network.
I would love to take credit for being the perfect child, but I must admit that my parents have together created this home for me where I feel loved and where I can be myself.
So be that source of love for your children, so that when they take that huge step, they pick the right boy or the right girl to spend the rest of their lives with, so that they move out when they can afford it and when they are ready. Be there for them so that if they ever need help, they will come to you. Then you can rest assured that they are really making the best decisions for themselves and that you will always be part of their lives.