Family dinners are staple in my household. Naturally, these dinners happened on a regular basis after I left for college and until recently I never thought of how the dynamics would change minus me, the older sister, at the table.
I sometimes wonder if my parents do family dinner when it’s just the two of them. I find that thought both funny and comforting at the same time. I like knowing that my family with all their traditions and routines can continue without me just in case something ever happens to me and I’m not longer able to join them. And I mean this in every possible sense. Like if I ever move to the other side of the world for some really cool job and can’t come home. Or I get hit by a bus while I’m walking downtown and die. I know that sounds morbid but these are the thoughts I have sometimes to keep all of my bases covered. So now I know what my brother was talking about after I left for college because without him these dinners can be agony! The way it happened was my coming home coincided with my brother Stephen going off the college, now I have to endure the subtle suggestions my mother makes that both my father and I know are not suggestion but more of a request.
The other way I can tell that I’m not an adult yet is the way my mother treats me. Like I said before we have this new framework of interacting with each other but there is still something inherent in our relationship that allows my mother to speak to me like a child and perhaps this will never change because she will always be my mom. Although it would be nice if, during dinner, she didn’t say and do things like this:
“Honey you have sauce on your chin. Here let me get that for you.” and before i can even think about wiping my chin, she proceeds to dip her napkin in her water glass and reach over the table to maw at my face. I’m glad she didn’t lick her napkin and then wipe my face. I’ve always hated that. She used to do that to my brother and I when we were kids and I was so grossed out by it. It made me feel less than human like we were part of the animal kingdom and our mother was bathing us with her tongue. Personal boundaries is obviously something we still need to work on.
But for all of my mother idiosyncrasies part of the reason I do not have an adult relationship with my parents is I’m entirely too dependent on them and if I want to forge a path towards my new definition of adulthood, I need to get a job.