She's leaving home
In the supermarket, Easter Saturday: "Why have you put all this stuff in the trolley?" said Brent, "we don't need more loo rolls or bathroom cleaner, and we have enough tissues for you and your girlfriends to watch a month of tearful chick flick films."
"Oh, funny" I replied "since when did you see me sit down with girlfriends to watch soppy movies. You know why, its for India, its for them both. Just a few bits to help them get started, nothing major, and it will only happen once."
Playing in the back of my head, constantly these days is the old, sad, Beatles song about the girl leaving home. At least India will not be leaving home like that. Nor will she be leaving home like I did at her age.
True, she has talked about moving out for several years now. No doubt first brought on by our mother/daughter argumentative period. The blue period or maybe the fiery red, orange, and black crazily scribbled period, when we bounced off each others walls and snarled and turned our backs. Silence can be far more damaging than a full on cat fight. "She hates me" I would sob some nights into my pillow, while Brent would try to calm me down, or, on other occasions "... if she doesn't buck up her ideas she's going to have to go, she's turning into the person we've always warned her about." It wasn't just be though, Brent would often just lose it with her and start yelling like a mad man. Then I would jump to India's defense and tell her to ignore him, her mad old fogey dad. "He's just turning into a silly old sod", I would say, "don't listen to him." Yet when I lost my temper Brent mostly supported me. Except for that one time when I was really mad about something India had done. I can't even remember what it was now, which shows how important it was in the big scheme of things. I was washing up and turned quickly to catch Brent looking at India and pulling faces at me behind my back, they were in it together. Needless to say I was was incensed I screamed at them both like a mad banshee, threw down the dish cloth and stormed out of the room, got my shoes and car keys and left the house as fast as I could. I had no where to go, no money, I was just so mad at the pair of them. How dare Brent make me look small. I never thought that I made him look small every time I put him down in front of our daughter. Luckily she is well-balanced enough not to hold a grudge or even remember most of our minor insanities.
Oh gosh, I've lost the plot so early in the tale.
Do I want her to move out? Yes, no, maybe, sometimes, all of the above. It is time I know, she needs to stand on her own two feet and I will not stand in her way. How magnanimous of me, is that the correct word? Mum said something interesting when she was here over Christmas. She believes that tying your children to you with that invisible piece of string is asking for trouble, she bound us to her with elastic, letting us go but welcoming us back. Well that was the theory but it didn't take into account my dad, but that's another story.
India and Ollie have been together for a while now and so I suppose it is only natural that they want to flat together. Ollie has graduated and has a fairly secure job, but India still has at least 18 months of study left, and although she is working she is incurring more and more debt due to university fees. I worry that she will take out more and more in the way of student loans in order to cover the rent and her food, and spend years trying to pay it back. She assures me, however, that if she moves out she will be eligible for a grant.
Anyway, Ollie first had the idea that he wanted to take on the rental for a house and get people in to pay the bills but India was not too sure about this, especially after we pointed out the possible pitfalls if they could not get people to rent the rooms or if the people did a flit, not paying rent or damaging the property. Eventually he seemed to seed the sense of this.
Brent and I gave their plight a lot of thought discussion and eventually offered that Ollie should come and stay with us, after all he spends three or four nights a week here anyway. We said that they could have the second spare room as a sitting room so they would not have to spend time with us and they could have friends to stay etc., and, although they would have to pay rent, it would be cheaper than flatting. India thought this a great idea but Ollie was still set on renting his own house.
So we kept quiet and eventually India started moaning that Ollie was doing nothing about moving out of his house. On top of this, his family were having big problems with their youngest son and would call Ollie and tell him to babysit or take him places. Now by youngest son I don't mean an eight year old, Ollie's younger brother is 18, although he apparently behaves like and eight year old.
From time to time we would mention the spare room to India and she would agree that it was the best idea as she would be keen to live at home if only Ollie could live with her. He was constantly reticent when the idea came up. Hannah began to apply more and more pressure about leaving home and I think it was basic laziness that eventually made him say that maybe moving into our house was a good idea.
India was so excited, making plans telling friends, even I got excited and started to clear out the spare room and throw some of my old clothes away to make more space. Brent meanwhile just sat back and refused to get involved. He wasn't going to move out the old bed or get a TV point organised until the day it all came to pass. I knew he was right to wait.
The next step for Ollie to tell his parents. the weeks drifted by and still he had not mentioned anything to them. We all knew it would not be easy as his mother is fairly possessive, but we just joked with Ollie that he would have to bite the bullet and that we didn't want his parents round here yelling at us, we were joking of course.
Last week was Ollie's graduation. The night before at around 11pm he phoned India to say that he has spoken to his parents and they had persuaded him that it was not a good idea to move in with his girlfriend's parents. India was heartbroken, she had given him so many changes of opting out but he was positive that we wanted to make the move to live with her at our house. They said it would be awkward for him. I can see their point of view and I would have been quite upset if India had decided to go and live with Ollie's parents so I will not complain about that, its just the way he went about it. To make matters worse India had to spend the entire day with his parents while they went through the graduation ceremony and then a dinner. She looked like death warmed up in the morning and then when I saw her again in the evening she looked even worse. I had offered to pick her up from the graduation if it go too mad but she said it was really OK and that his mum was really nice to her. Guild, of course.
Being only human India did what any normal girl would have done, she said that if our house wasn't good enough for hm to come and live here he could forget coming around to sleep with her. She made him take all of his clothes home and said he could come and see her as long as he went home each night. I don't think he believed her at first but he soon got the idea that she was not messing around. This shocked him quite a bit and for a while he thought she was going to break up with him.
He eventually got the message and was spurred on to find them somewhere so live.
So now we are up to date. They have found a couple of rooms to rent in a house in Glenfield and move out next weekend. India is, once again, very excited. She has forgiven Ollie totally for being such a weakling and giving in to his mother. I haven't spoken to India much but I believe that Ollie's mum is still not happy but what can she do? And who knows, once they start paying rent and realise how expensive it is to live away from home they may decide to come back. If we want them that is.
It is now our time and we can decide if we want to move to a smaller house or get a lodger or whatever.
I don't want my baby to leave home but I'll just leave the elastic lying around and put away the string. And at least she will have a dad who will be happy for her to do whatever makes her happy and he will welcome her back if it doesn't work out.