What it’s Like to Leave Home

By Kaitlyn Pujols

You underestimate the little things; the novelty salt and pepper shakers, the welcome doormats, the smell of home-cooked food washing over you the moment you walk through the door. This will all come to mind, not as moving boxes begin to pile up in the center of your once room, soon to be converted into a storage room, but when the excitement wears away.

When the first bills arrive in the mail, when it’s the sixth night of ramen noodles for dinner, when that “just friend” leaves in the middle of the night and your parents aren’t there to offer comfort, you will realize that physically moving out— in retrospect— will be the easy thing.

Sure, packaging everything brings up nostalgia about the moments when you and your family actually got along. Deciding what to bring with you and what to leave behind is a true test of your own values, but regret— regret will be your best friend.

You will regret not eating more of your mom’s rice and beans, regret the fights with your siblings over trivial things, regret leaving a home that has always, and will always, welcome you with open arms and warm covers.

Then you’ll grow used to it. Your pantry will become stocked with dried rice and beans that you will learn to cook, piles of clothes will become folded laundry, and you will find yourself having saved up enough to come back home for Thanksgiving.

Sometimes, however, it’s different. Sometimes you will see how life passed without your presence. Your younger sibling got their license, and since when are they old enough to drive? Your dog died— but you were too wrapped up in work, school, and the myriad of other things on your mind to have been bothered.

This will hurt too, but it comes coupled with the joy of seeing family again. Even if they do nag you about your eating habits and relationship status, dad saved your stuff, no matter how many times he threatened to convert your old room into a den, and your brother is different in appearance but still the twerp you grew up with.

The moment comes when you realize that your parents too were struggling to find their way in a different household. But by now, you have finished the process and are back where you started. Now you are what has changed.

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