Sometimes I look forward to the day I have my own children and sometimes I hope I never have children. Every time I go back to my parents house I get nagged at like I'm still a teenager. I love my parents to bits but why can't they grow up with us? I mean, sometimes I get the distinct impression that no time has passed them by since the day I left home.
They only live 5 miles away so I see them on a regular basis and my trips to the family home are always the same. My dad will see me arrive but still insist on saying 'who's that?' when I let myself in. Then he'll stick his head out of the door to inspect my parking.
I'll go and sit down at the kitchen table which is never an easy task. Every flat surface (including the chairs) will be covered in newspapers, magazines and junk mail. I will have to gather it all up and then seek out a flat surface that isn't already covered in paper. This task is followed by a tut from dad. Its not even my house, why should I try and tidy up? In fact, when did the child EVER tidy up the family home? I'm supposed to make the mess!
Cups of coffee will be made. Mum will make it, I will remind her I require one sugar, I get it and there isn't any sugar. So then I go to get the sugar and she will tell me its about time I stopped taking sugar. Why is this such an issue? I have taken sugar in my coffee for years, I like sugar in my coffee. Why should I have to give it up?
Dad will hover over us, making sure we use coasters and don't spill anything. He shouldn't get wound up over a bit of split coffee or a ring mark on the table. These things happen. He can't accept this though and so he'll always suffer from high blood pressure.
Mum will get the ryvitas out and offer me one (they're always on diets so jaffa cakes are never an option). Dad will then sit there watching over me, making sure I drop crumbs onto the plate and not anywhere else. I think he has OCD or something. He'll make me feel like I'm 5 again.
When we were kids, eating chips in the back of the car was a treat. He would cover the entire car with newspaper before we were allowed to eat the chips and he would stand over us until we'd finished. Then he'd yell 'put your hands up in the air where i can see them' like we're criminals or something and then he'd rub our hands clean with his handkerchief. If he didn't watch us, yes, we would wipe our hands on our legs or on the seats but that is what children do isn't it? However, I'm 29 now. Is it necessary to watch me eat?
Once the cups and plates are cleared he will leave us to it and go back to his newspaper. The rest of my visit will involve mum telling me that same old story about my cousin getting married. I've never met this cousin, I'm not going to the wedding, I was never invited..probably because she's never met me, but my mum will insist on telling me all about it anyway. Then she'll talk about some poor old dear I've never met who has just popped her clogs. I will get an hour's worth of useless information and gossip before I can speak about anything.
The last few weeks my visits have been slightly different. I've met someone you see, so I'm expected to volunteer information about it. What have we been doing, where did we go, are we seeing each other this weekend. The dreaded 'when will I meet him' question. As it happens, I'm meeting his parents this weekend and to this my mum snorted 'well I hope you're going to sort those roots out' and she pointed at my head.
So you see, sometimes I don't want to have children of my own, because once a parent, always a parent. Surely its exhausting to be nagging all the time? Don't get me wrong, I love my parents. I get on with them really well, but the nagging....can't the nagging be put to rest now?