It used to be a joke that there wouldn’t be a thing in this world that could make me leave the city and return to my roots in the Shropshire countryside.
As soon as I turned 18 and it was my time to go to university, I was off like a shot. I couldn’t wait to be surrounded by the non-stop culture, community and convenience that London provided.
But don’t mistake my love of the city and my independent life as a sign that I am not happy with my home life.
I am incredibly lucky with both my parents. They have been my biggest fans when it comes to my independence, and they are the reason I have been so confident with every stride I have made.
Having the safety net of loving arms, reassuring words and a cup of tea has made me fearless in leaping forward.
When I started exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus recently, without hesitation, my parents sped down the M40 and whisked me home, for us all to spend two weeks in isolation together.
When I voiced my concerns about infecting them, my mum dismissed it quickly saying that we are a family and ‘we stand and fall together’.
We’re now approaching the three week mark of me being home (I think, let’s face it time has lost all meaning now) and the cabin fever is beginning to set in.
For example, as I write this my darling and beloved mother is less than six feet away from me hoovering the stairs while singing Jerusalem and, for some reason, Rizzle Kicks at the top of her lungs.
Going home means that you will always regress into old patterns. In all honesty, for a lot of us that’s part of the joy.
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Just last month, as my parents were dropping me off in Hereford for a birthday party, my mum exclaimed that I couldn’t be dropped off where my dad had pulled over because I would have to cross the road alone.
In that moment, she had forgotten that I had lived independently for seven years across three cities and two countries. I was her little girl.
However, this time, my stay at my parent’s house is not a flying visit or birthday weekend, it’s a refuge in deeply scary times.
Even so, there are still moments where I crave my own space once again. It’s the small independent activities I have lost that I, bizarrely, mourn the most.
Like a large percentage of the country’s workforce, I am working from home but I don’t seem to have one area where I can settle down to make my ‘office’.
I am writing this from my favourite spot in the kitchen, where my feet can rest against the Aga and my dogs can lay by my side. It sounds pretentious but it makes me feel like a romanticised journalist from an Enid Blyton novel.
But today, I have been moved from my dad’s study (he needed to work), the living room (I couldn’t concentrate with the TV on), the dining room (the hoover) and my bedroom (I can’t always work where I sleep).
I have also lost control of the television. While I share a similar taste in TV and films as my parents, the adolescent years of battling over the remote control loom large in our living room.
And even though I am now technically an adult, sex scenes on TV always make for incredibly awkward viewing.
Getting out of the house is hard.
As I don’t have a car, if I wish to walk alone I can go about 200 yards to the right of my house and 300 yards to the left. Back in London, you are always in the heart of everything.
Now, if I want to be sloppy and lazy, I am not doing so in my own space that I can command and control within the limits of my rental agreement, I am making a mess in someone else’s home.
Proper lie-ins are a thing of the past. When left to my own devices, I sleep in as long as my body needs.
For the last week, bar one or two days, dozing past 10am apparently warrant a barrage of loud knocks on the door and my dad shouting, ‘Are you still bloody sleeping?’
Even when left to ‘lie-in’, I am then welcomed downstairs with a chorus of ‘What time do you call this?’ and ‘Good morning – or should I say good evening!’
The classics are always the best, I guess.
Quite predictably, I have also become the house tech support. Most people have to help their parent’s out with technology, it’s just life.
But this week alone I have installed a webcam, set up a gaming headphone set, taught my dad how to use Netflix on his own TV and been the middle man in helping my parents connect and link to countless online games with their friends.
None of this is a genuine grievance, I just have had to adapt to not having my own space.
And I’m in no doubt I am probably pissing off my parents with my own habits, quirks and stubborn behaviour.
But there are definite perks to this situation, too.
In these trying times, no one understands me more than my mum and dad. They know what I need and are happy to listen and help me when I need it.
It’s true that old patterns of behaviours slip back into place but I am now an adult and I am so lucky to have parents I can communicate with and who will listen to what I need. (Even if I did just take myself off in a bit of a huff after being ousted from my makeshift working spot.)
It also helps that my parents are happy to supply constant cups of tea and cheese toasties.
Not to mention their two beautiful black Labradors who are living their best lives in this lockdown, even thought they don’t understand that they aren’t always needed in my conference calls.
At least in the midst of all these constant personal adaptations and in this crazy current global climate, I am lucky to be able to hug my mum and dad and have them tell me it’s all going to be OK.
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