Photo: Snotty's parents (she is clearly adopted).
My little brother, Sam, moved home last summer, and then never left; my jealousy of him right now is epic. Being jealous of Sam has always been a full-time job for me, ever since he was born and insisted on living for. ev. er. I'm not pissed that he's sponging off of my parents--hello, I did it first and for the longest amount of time--I'm just annoyed that I can't do it simultaneously. Of course I still feel like a part of our family--my family rocks--but it's mostly a "grass is greener" thing: the Esq and I get to do what we want, have no supervision, and live in a kickass apartment in Seattle (without our parents), while Sam gets to live off the fat of the land with my parents in a killer house, a house with good food, free cable, and a hot tub--I know he'd like to trade with us sometimes, and vice versa.
It's not the 'stuff' I miss, though; I have plenty of stuff here. It's the physicality of the family unit that is available to him--it's knowing that my parents are cool now and way more easygoing--it's wanting that family cocoon again. Being in our family was like having two stern but loving captains pick you for their team every time, even when you knew they didn't want to; it was like Kid Insurance: because I'm your kid, you have to choose me--and they did, every time. My parents were the captains of our family team, a team built on Nebraska Cornhusker-like fanaticism and Boston Red Sox loyalty, despite a history of losses; they were good leaders, although easily weakened by their children, like any good parent. We knew when we had 'em, and also knew--inherently--that they were way smarter than us. From my small perspective, parenting seemed like being in a gang of accountants: very consistent, sometimes bland, oftentimes frustrating. I didn't know how they would survive us, but they did. Then they 'found' themselves and started working on their relationship; my dad became a principal and my mom went traveling; they took vacations together and turned into really cool people (although they were always like that, I just never noticed). My dad became firmly affixed to the ground--the Earth!--and my mother laughed more and said the F-word in front of me twice. They seemed like people you'd want to live with, much like I'm currently someone you'd want to live with, now that I'm 32 and not 22. I know the idea is to make the home life as miserable as possible, so that your children want to leave, but with Sam still there, I feel like I'm being called back home--like a pig to the slaughterhouse. It wouldn't work, of course; I like my space too much, and my parents need a space of their own--but now that we're all getting our shit together (slowly, so slowly), it just seems like we'd enjoy living together now, having family barbecues, hanging in the garden, getting to know our current selves. In my mind, it's idyllic.
This isn't a good idea, but it's a nice idea with good intentions. Each person in my family is really working on moving forward and doing what they love; I am, too. I don't really need to move home to feel included, since I feel lucky to be a part of the team; but still, it's a nice idea. It's comforting.