I can still recall move-in day my freshman year of college, a new beginning. As my parents pulled our overstuffed car into the parking lot, I was faced with a wave of nausea and fear at the thought of what laid ahead. My parents lovingly transported my every belonging into my new shabby dorm room with tears shining in their eyes as they realized I would no longer be a permanent resident in their home. Flash forward three years, and I found myself greeted with a much different scenario.
Instead of receiving the royal treatment that my senior status had once earned me in high school, I found myself close to being dumped at the curb. For starters, the only tears visible this year’s move-in day were those of frustration, possibly even rage, as my parents lashed out at me for the 60th time, livid that I’d managed to accumulate more belongings than the rest of my family members combined. Rather than gently unpack my carefully wrapped dishes, their containers were flung onto the counter with a clatter just loud enough to suggest that a trip to Target would be in my near future.
Next came my father’s favorite part of the move-in process, building the contents of Ikea in my living room. After building an array of cheap furniture, dear old Dad painstakingly flipped my bed to maximize storage space, as we’d done in past years, only to discover that the beds in the Wayne Apartments don’t flip. My mattress was now left to float freely on two insecure pieces of plywood. Instead of expressing concern that I would be practically levitating on my mattress at night, my dad let out a groan, muttering that it would probably be fine and after all, I would only be here for the next nine months.
As my mother continued to unpack my possessions in all the wrong places, getting angrier by the minute as I explained to her that I would be rearranging everything the moment she left, my little sister perched on my unmade bed moaning that after helping me move in to school for four consecutive years, she no longer wanted to go to college, deeming it not worth the aggravation of unpacking. When the allure of whining had worn off, she took to examining my belongings, questioning why I’d felt the need to bring each item in my closet to school, as if our trip could have been infinitely shortened by leaving a few sweaters at home.
In spite of tempers running higher than the temperature, my family took me out to dinner before departing. Once an enjoyable occasion at a restaurant of my choosing, my family overruled my customary request to go to Olive Garden, reasoning that after three years, it was finally their turn to decide. As soon as the check was paid, my father stood up and bolted for the door, desperate to get home in time for his fantasy football league’s draft. At this moment my suspicions were confirmed, and I realized that the draft, not my excess belongings, were the reason that my family had taken two cars.