Thursday, 12 March 2009

What you leave behind

As the big move-in day creeps ever closer (2 days to go!) I'm starting to think more and more about what I'm going to be leaving behind and the feelings I'll have once I'm somewhere new...

I currently live with my Mum and have done for the past 2 years, since finishing my Masters degree in Manchester. I moved back home, insisting it was a temporary measure and that I'd probably be out in the few months.


The initial plan was that I would move in with my then boyfriend who lived away. Unfortunately my boyfriend did not share the same plan and it took him almost 2 years to get around to telling me that. After telling me he didn't think he wanted to be in a relationship and didn't want to live with someone, he moved in his new girlfriend a few months later. Go figure.

So having wasted my time for a couple of years, I've been fairly keen to move forward and out of the parental home. That's probably the reason why we're moving in with each other fairly early on in the relationship (9 months in). It feels right so I'm going for it - what's the point in waiting? If something feels right you might as well do it. If it doesn't work out? Well you deal with that when and if it comes along.

I am keen to get out in to my own space though. It's not easy to go to uni and have all the freedom you want and to then come back into your parent's home. I was brought up to be fairly respectful person - if I was going to be out later than expected I would ring to let her know and I wouldn't spring sudden surprises on her. My thought is that if someone's going to the trouble of making your tea you should turn up to have it and not cancel the hour before. Plus I think it's just nice to sit and have a meal with my Mum, otherwise she'd just be on her own and it's nice to sit down and have a chat about your day.

Although I do all this it doesn't mean that I particularly enjoy it. I do it because I feel I have to. I would love to not have to 'answer' to anyone, to be able to stay out later than anticipated without having to worry about telling someone. (I should point out here that I am aware I will be living with someone when I move out - he won't be left all alone wondering where I am!)

I do get on with my Mum though. My brother and sister would say I'm the favourite and that I'm spoilt and tehy might have a point. I'm the youngest - everyone loves the youngest child! I don't think I'm necessarily the favourite, that accolade rests with my older sister, the attractive, massively successful one out of the three of us.

I would however say that I'm closer to Mum than my siblings are. That's inevitable I suppose with us living together but it's more than that. My Dad left when I was 16 and it was just Mum and I from then on. My brother and sister had long left home by that point and my brother said to me that I had to "make sure" I "looked after Mum". Quite a responsibility for the fairly sheltered, immature teenager I was then.

But I took that on board and did as was expected. I sat through the nights of crying and shouting and long periods of silence. The times when I worried about how much she was drinking. Whilst my peers were discovering the delights of going out to clubs and underage drinking, I was at home not wanting to leave my Mum on her own.

I don't want to paint a picture of poor orphan Annie, of course it wasn't like that, I still did go out occasionally and I don't think I was solely responsible for my Mum's recovery after the break up. What has always stayed with me is that sense of responsibility towards her.

I think it's taken for granted that I am responsible for Mum. I think it's the downside of being the youngest - my brother and sister are both married with children and live away. I on the other hand am not married with children so therefore have no responsibility and I live in the same city. To some extent this has been fair but with me getting my own place I feel the goalposts have changed somewhat. Am I still going to be solely responsible for checking on how Mum is. My sister only rings once a week and my brother even less. That made sense when I was living in the house but what about now? Does my share of the responsibility decrease?

I do feel guilty in that sense. I feel like I am abandonning her in some way. Once I go, that's it, she'll finally be on her own. It's not like when I went to uni and was coming back at weekends or there was the potential for me to move back permanently. This is it when I go. And I do feel responsible for her. So in a way, although I'm moving out and getting what I've wanted for so long, I'm still very much connected my Mum, and although I'm happy to going somewhere new, there's still a little bit of sadness when I think about what I'm leaving behind...

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