Two weeks from tomorrow I leave for Europe with one of my closest friends, Kristin. We're hitting up Amsterdam for a few days, then off to Munich, staying with Josh for a weekend in Heidelberg and finally back to London for the remainder of the trip. I'm extremely nervous - there is so much to think about. From packing and clothing options, to money and the question that continually has run through my head: "What if I don't like the food they eat there?" The most major things have been taken care of - lodging, transportation and a basic outline of what we'll do when we get there.
I think the scariest thing about the entire trip is what it signifies. I'm doing this on my own. My parents are not helping me pay for it, nor will my mother be there interpreting the language for us like she was in Italy. I think that this might be the farthest that I have ever physically been from my parents. And it kind of terrifies me.
Plus...I'm terrified of the plane crashing into the ocean. Because then you're screwed.
I am the youngest of three children in my family by a lot. I was the accident. Oops! Eight years after they had my middle brother Mike, I was born. I am the only girl - the princess. I never had to take care of anything that was a big deal like this - I could almost always convince SOMEBODY in my family to "help" me, to which I just backed off and let them do it for me. Yes, I tended to be lazy and a tad bit manipulative. In turn, I think that this has made my transition into adulthood a little harder. Remembering to pay bills on time was a shock, as was the fact that my father made me pay him to change my oil.
Anyways. Back to Europe. I'm excited. I truly am. I'm not sure if I'm more excited about seeing the sights or doing something this big COMPLETELY ON MY OWN. I kind of feel like it's time to cut the umbilical cord. As much as I love and respect my parents and I know that I will NEVER be able to repay them for everything that the did for me growing up and do for me now....it's time to stand on my own. I can change my own oil. If I go over on my budget for the month - I will deal with it. I can take my own clothes to the dry cleaners. I can figure out how to make the stinkin' grilled cheese sandwiches on my own. And if I mess up...well...then I'll call Mom.
As much as I resemble my parents physically, we are often on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to politics, drinking and sadly...morals. I don't know when the tides changed and I went from a fairly conservative little Catholic girl to this die hard liberal woman. I'm going to put my money on going to the University of North Texas having something to do with it. I felt guilty when I made an educated decision to vote for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. I felt like I was disobeying my parents, or letting them down in some way. Like I was a little rebel thumbing my nose at them just because I could. I know that to a certain extent, they don't approve of my lifestyle. I don't think that either of them can relate to who I am or what I hold important and value in my life at times. I think that when my mother was pregnant with me, she had this vision of her daughter all dressed in pink and acting like a lady. I played in the mud as a child, and hated dresses. I'm not that conservative, lady-like and delicate woman that I think she wanted me to be. But I wouldn't be happy that way. I like being loud. I like laughing with the guys at the dirty jokes. Hell - I like TELLING the dirty jokes. I'm bold and brassy and sometimes a little intimidating. I look at her and, no offense Mom, I don't see this dainty, lady-like, waif of a woman. I see someone who has stood up for herself, someone who likes to laugh and drink wine with good friends. I see her as one of the strongest women that I have ever met...and I'm just like her, but yet, I don't feel like I measure up.
I also feel like I'm completely disrespecting my parents and that if my mother were to read this, she would get upset and therefore I feel guilty and I am beginning to think that I shouldn't even publish this. Do you see the internal conflict that I'm wrestling with? These are my thoughts and my feelings but I'm afraid to let her know because it would disappoint and hurt her...
My parents are pretty conservative with their money as far as buying clothes, music, going out is concerned. Don't get me wrong - they're not penny pinchers. They live in an older, but updated house; they both drive new cars and most of all - they take fantastic trips. And my mom doesn't sleep in anything less than 3 stars. Apparently, we are more alike than previously thought. :) I have the worst habit. Everytime I buy something, I hear my mother's voice: "And how much did that cost? It's cute - but do you need more clothes?" Or my father's: " I bet if you looked in the back of your closet, you could find that same exact thing." I actually feel guilty spending the money that I earn because I'm afraid that my parent's are going to get angry with me. It's not their money, but still...I guess it's just something that was ingrained in my head when I was in college and actually spending all their money on complete crap that I don't ever wear anymore. We just have different priorities. They tend to go grocery shopping at least once a week and spend their money. I go clothes shopping at least once a week, in contrast to my monthly/bimonthly grocery shopping trip. I don't eat that much at my house because I would much rather be able to fit into that size 8 skirt that I bought, then chow down on frozen pizza. And plus, if I get hungry...my mom will let me eat the leftovers.
I just want to be able to make decisions, large and small, for my own life without automatically thinking of what my parents would say or think or if they would disapprove or not. I want to be independent and make decisions for my own life based on what I believe to be right for me because I think that if I am able to do that...maybe I'll make decisions that will make ME happy.
And Mom...if you're reading this - don't cry. I love you. I just can't be everything that you want me to be. I just want to be me and have you be okay with that.