An open letter to parents, thanks for having us back

by howard west ~

In such a scary time I am very lucky, Covid-19 has given me the chance, much to the distress of my parents, to escape the city and move back in with them, along with my four siblings and significant others. A full house and a mighty task for my parents as I am sure they felt they were done with me, all of us in fact. Who really wants four boys, 6 foot 2+, 100kg+, moving back in with them?! Of course, this is all made manageable as my sister is married blissfully and the pride my parents feel for them balances out the chaos we boys create, that was until they left to go to stay with his family.

As a (man)child, returning to live under your parents’ roof is frustrating and amusing in equal measure. Witnessing your new landlords ‘managing the maintenance’ of their way of life without trying to intrude on your own can only be viewed with great appreciation. Until the sudden, if expected, snap and you feel the whip of control returning to their hands as they have had to pick up the 15th pair of shoes strewn across the doorway. Suddenly you have cooking rotas, a ban on soft drinks, TV and sweets before 6pm, and the suggestion of a ‘gold star’ grading handed out at dinner each day to reward good behaviour and cleanliness. Old habits die hard (or not at all).

Whether or not I am at the bottom of the gold star stash, being back at home has been a real pleasure, a calm port in a storm, and as I fully appreciate, an opportunity not everyone has. As the length of this isolation period might extend, whatever your situation, it makes me think more about how important our communities are, as much as we can, stay safe and keep up social distancing. However, in an hour of exercise or in the queue for the supermarket, say hello to the people around you – it might be the only bit of social contact someone has that day. Personally, all I can say is thank you to my parents for having me home, I promise I will try to pick up my shoes, offer to take out the bins more often, and I may finally win a bloody gold star!