Moving out…

11 11 2008

My ‘baby’ has left home. Well, she’s 20, but these days that’s pretty amazing! I can see the change in her already. I remember leaving home and those first tentative steps towards being ‘grown up’. The fear and the delicious sense of freedom. I’m so excited for her!

I also feel a tiny bit of sadness. Even with four other kids still at home, there’s a gap in the house just about her size…

We’ve brought our kids up to be independent – to get out on their own, be their own person, pay their own bills… But there’s been times we’ve really believed none of them would ever leave. After all, it’s not exactly uncommon these days for ‘kids’ to stay at home until they’re into their third decade and more.

I have a niece and nephew who both lived at home well into their 30s – and whose spouses moved in with them after the wedding. Actually, they still haven’t really left home.

As parents, we’re so busy making excuses for our kids and being ‘understanding’. Rents are too high, everything’s too expensive, it’s just too hard. Well, back in the day when most self-respecting kids were out of home at 16 or 17, it wasn’t exactly easy either. But it was easier than living by mum and dad’s rules.

Why would kids leave home now? They have all the comforts they’ve come to expect – they get fed and cleaned up after, rent’s cheap (if it exists at all), they can come and go as they please (because they’re grown up, apparently), and they’re usually allowed to have their girlfriend or boyfriend sleep over (or move in!). (Trust me, it’s no different in our house!)

My stepson said he watched a TV program that urged kids to stay at home longer and save money so they could buy a house. So he’s decided that’s a great idea. I’ve got a better idea – why don’t kids leave home so their parents can pay off their own mortgage?

Don’t get me wrong… we adore our kids. We have a great relationship, they talk to us about everything (there are some things we’d rather not know!!), they all get on with each other. But it’s because we love them that we encourage them to leave.

There are some things more important than money, owning your own home, having everything you want when you want it. There are things like independence – and making sacrifices to get it. Doing it tough and gaining a sense of self. And learning that things that come easy aren’t usually valued as highly.

So I’m proud of my girl. And I’m glad she’s got friends who want to be independent too. I know it’s not going to be easy for her, but she knows she has family backing her up all the way. And a few siblings eager to follow in her footsteps…

I can see EB and me rattlin’ round in this big ol’ house sooner than we expected 🙂

Elle

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