The Coast News Group
Small Talk

When the kids move back home

I didn’t have to do much when my daughter moved out six months ago. Moving her home was quite another scenario.
I fought this overwhelming urge to scream, “Cut! That’s a wrap.” Instead, I found myself on my knees trying to scrub six-months-times-four-people-multiplied-by-rarely-cleaned-it-themselves off a shower floor. Three cleaning products later, I had made a small dent, but that shower floor may never see its original color again.
I must have been very lucky, as I don’t remember my roommates leaving me holding the mop when it came time for move-out cleaning. We all wanted that deposit back and, oh yes, we were girls. My daughter chose to have mostly male roommates who were great for the occasional heavy lifting, but little else. I know. I’m being sexist. Let me make it better by saying that the one female roommate she had did nothing either.
I am still chuckling that one of the guys came back for a few last items as I was bent over the shower floor, and graciously remarked, “Hey. Why are you cleaning that? We should be doing it.” He did not slow down in his departure, however, to actually scrub anything. I suppose his heart was in the right place, but I had to bite my tongue not to respond, “Why yes, you should have done it yesterday. Here. Take the sponge.” My daughter had threatened me with eternal retribution if I opened my mouth, so I contained myself and kept scrubbing.
All three of her roomies made certain they were packed and out the door days before the final move-out date. They were conveniently out of reach by the time the really nasty living room and kitchen were cleared and it was time to remove grease and large dark spots on the rug. In truth, I was so glad to see them depart from her life, I couldn’t get too worked up.
The best of the bunch spent the majority of his time playing video games. The “couple” in the master had screaming matches at least three nights a week. My child may only have been gone six months, but she gained years of perspective. She was distressed, but I won’t lie. I relished every, “I have to admit, Mom, you were right.”
Meanwhile, I indulged my “Mommy” mode. I schlepped over our rug shampooer, along with a bag full of cleaning products and my heavy-duty rubber gloves. I packed all the kitchen stuff I had pawned off on her and never want to see again. Those boxes will definitely stay in the garage. I did grind my teeth a bit as she ignored my various suggestions on how to wrap and pack, instead tossing things, willy-nilly, into boxes.
The really hard part was admitting I had become such a fuss-budget. As I stood looking at the half-empty apartment, I was filled with fond memories of my feckless, footloose days when it was me tossing things into boxes, willy-nilly.
But I always got that deposit back.