Day 14 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent helping my daughter look for an apartment. This is a discouraging process because she’s searching in one of the highest rent districts in the country. Needless to say, everything seems out of reach for her meager budget. She and her boyfriend think that moving in together is the solution as they’d be able to split the exorbitant fee in half. In my mind, this would be a mistake of epic proportions.
My first apartment was similar to those she’s been considering. It was small, a bit run down and was not really situated in the best part of town. Despite being informed of these issues by my parents, I couldn’t have cared less. I was so thrilled to have my own space that I didn’t see any of the flaws. I drenched that space all in pink, my signature color, and filled it with all of my favorite books. Within those walls I taught myself how to cook, clean, study and sew a button. I learned how to plunge a toilet and replace an air-conditioning filter as well, certainly basic life skills. Above all that though, I discovered myself apart from anyone else and I want that for my daughter.
My resistance to my daughter’s desire to live with her boyfriend is not based on the antiquated standards you might expect. It isn’t about sex or marriage or money. I want her to experience the joy of solitude. When she was little, she used to build a wall to keep her baby brother out of her room. He’d scream and cry, but I allowed the wall because I knew that she needed her own space to grow and establish her place in the world. The issue of cohabitation is similar in my mind. I want her to learn, as I did, that she is capable of caring for herself and managing anything on her own. The gift of privacy is one that fades fast as we mature and blend our lives with others, so I hope she’ll give it a chance in her own space for now. I’ll even forgive her if she doesn’t coat it in shades of bubble gum and strawberry pop.
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