"It's a big, big house
With nothing much to do.
A big, big table,
With lots of frozen foods.
A big, big yard
That's underwater now.
A big, big house--
It's an empty house,"
I sang to myself as I folded laundry yesterday. With my sister at school and my parents at a chiropractor's appointment, I had the house to myself. And it was a little scary.
I normally enjoy being alone. My room is my kingdom. It's nice and quiet, decorated in gentle greens with splashes of brown and muted pink. I have a yarrow plant on the windowsill, a Bible on the nightstand, and my precious laptop reigns from her place of honor on my desk. But when the entire house is mine? I thought I heard someone flip a light switch and nearly had a conniption fit.
I'll be eighteen in a month. This is ridiculous.
If I'd lived a few hundred years ago, I'd probably be married by now, or at the very least I'd be looking for a suitor. I'd know everything I needed to know in order to run a house. I'd be able to cook more than tacos, pizza, and hamburgers--and that without asking Mom if the meat's fully cooked. Heck, I'd be considered a full-fledged adult. An empty house wouldn't be scary at all. In fact, it would mean that I'd be able to get some work done in peace. But for me...oh, there's still an eight-year-old inside me who jumps when the window creaks.
But today? I'm just now starting down the road to independence. I have a job, but my mom waits up until I get home. I have chores, but if I forget about them, it's not a big deal. I have a car, but I got help paying for it. I have cooking skills, no matter how limited they are, but I'm still given money for fast food and an invitation to Pa and Grammy's house for lunch. I have a degree of responsibility, but I'm told that it's okay not to use it.
Teenagers, I read the other day, are a fairly recent invention. Even in the early 1900s, children turned into adults without going through this purgatory of high school, peer pressure, and internet memes. My paternal grandfather was left as the man of the house as a teenager--I want to say fourteen, but I'm not sure. He quit school and started working to support his family. Today, my great-uncle Louie, Grandpa's brother, has nothing but good to say about him. But what about the standard teen of today? The ones who are so lazy they'd rather eat pre-packaged junk food than pour a bowl of cereal.
I'm glad people no longer die if they don't learn basic life skills. I'm grateful for Kohl's, Aldi's, and frozen taquitos. And, after washing so many dishes at Domino's, I'm more grateful than ever for automatic dishwashers. But life skills aren't replaceable. They can't be digitized or automated, either. I think everyone should learn how to cook at least one meal, do laundry, and clean a bathroom. And everyone needs the gumption to actually do it now and again.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're home alone? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.