The Random Writings of Rachel: When the Parents are Away

When the Parents are Away

Tell me, when you were growing up, did you and your siblings experience a strange kind of ecstatic joy when your parents would go out and leave all of you at home?

We did.

Oh man. We love our parents, but instantly, the minute Mom and Dad would announce that they were going out on a date, or going to a meeting, or doing who-knows-what outside the house and wouldn't be back till much later--we would get really excited.

The very first time my parents left us home alone, it was for 15 minutes or less while they drove up to the main road to put up signs for our upcoming garage sale. I was 11, mature beyond my years, and very responsible. During those 15 minutes, the toddler threw a tantrum and threw a glass bowl full of water on the kitchen floor, which shattered instantly. My younger sister, 9 at the time, was innocently walking across the kitchen during the bowl incident and somehow managed to step right on a piece of broken glass and cut her foot wide open. The kitchen floor instantly filled up with blood (remember the water in the bowl? That water all over the floor mixed with the blood to make it look like someone had been murdered). In a moment, I'd handed the screaming toddler into the care of her big brother, threw a towel for her foot to the sister sitting in the middle of a pool of blood, and grabbed a broom to sweep the glass out of the way so that we could help my poor sister without bleeding to death ourselves along the way. That very second, my parents opened the door.




In the years since then, when they left us home alone, we never faced quite such a medical emergency, but we did execute all manner of glorious plans that would never have been accomplished if our parents had been home. We'd invite our neighbor friends over when we were teens and put the baby sisters to bed for the night, and then play hide and seek in the dark all over our house and yard. We did science experiments like dropping eggs with parachutes off of our 2nd story balcony. We made ourselves grand feasts and had movie marathons. Mom and Dad's only rules (possibly inspired by the first time?) were to call them if anyone was bleeding and that all dishes should be washed and the house should be spotless and all schoolwork should be done by the time they arrived home--oh, and we weren't allowed to leave the house and yard. Mom would often call us to give us a 10 minute warning before their arrival--and let me tell you, when there's 7 of you, there's a whole lot of cleaning and chores you can accomplish in a 10 minute time period. We always had a lot of fun when Mom and Dad were gone, and for that reason, we'd often suggest things like, "Mom, why don't you take Dad on a date?" in order to get them out of the house at regular intervals.

I'm telling you all of this because this week, my parents are gone. They traveled to another part of Malaysia and it's just us kids, home alone. We felt the same sort of evil glee when we heard our parents were going away this time...the wheels in my head were turning over various experiments we could try out in their absence.

Only this time, it's a little different. Because Mom and Dad are gone for 4 days, and Angel and I are the real adults in charge of this crowd of teens and toddlers. And as an adult I do have to be concerned about whether schoolwork and showers are happening (though honestly, my sisters are generally quite self-sufficient)....but as the big sister who revels in the parents' absence, I can assure you that dinners composed of snacks and movie marathons are happening, too.

Also, I'm finding this new role even more awesome, because as an actual adult, my realm of power is more far-reaching. Now we can take the kids to the pool or the park when school is done, no permission needed. We could even go shopping or out to a restaurant when we want to. The world is at our fingertips!

23 comments:

  1. Loved your post, Rachel....so pleased to 'hear' you having such a happy, happy time!

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  2. I love all of the fun memories you have of getting to stay home alone, with the exception of that first time of course. I don't remember ever getting that excited about my parents leaving. We were always left with a babysitter until I was old enough and then we didn't do anything out of the ordinary than if they were still home, boring haha!

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  3. That sounds like fun! I do remember that liberating feeling :) I was essentially an only child so I would just have fun by myself or have friends over. It was nice either way :) Hope you guys have fun this week and that no glass breaks or bleeding occurs!!! Take Care Rachel -Iva

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  4. Ha! You had partners in crime! I hated it when my parents left because I had two big bossy brothers!

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  5. I'm so confused. Aren't you still in China? are you on a break with the family? (The stories are truth and hilarious, though!)

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  6. I love that story (mainly because your sister ended up being fine)! There is something about parents going away that is wonderful and a little scary. There are stories I have from when our parents left us home alone, but I'm sure they would not be happy if we told them to them now haha. Good luck thsi time around!

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  7. I LOVED when my parents went out for the night. I would always hope for my favorite babysitter who is now one of my very best friends. Fun to have such great memories.

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  8. Just think how ridiculously prepared you're going to be to have your own kids! ;)

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  9. yes! my sister and I were the exact same way!

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  10. My parents didn't really leave us alone very often. We usually got carted up to Grandma and Grandpa's house. But oh, how I miss weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's! Great post!

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  11. I'm the oldest too, so being in charge of my younger siblings when mom and dad were out was always an adventure. Fortunately, I can't remember any serious injuries...but maybe I've conveniently blocked them from my memory? Ha!

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  12. haaaa that sounds crazy about your first time your parents went out! there is something exciting about that feeling...although i haven't felt it in a long time. hope you get some serious fun in!!

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  13. I loved when my parents would leave too! What is it about kids loving that!?
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  14. Upon first glance, I thought the title of this blog post was "When the Pants are Away." So while this wasn't the post I was expecting at first (I have no idea what it would have been about, but trusted your randomness completely =), I love hearing how close and fun-loving your family is!

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  15. I bet you and Angel are running a fun show!

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  16. I laughed so hard when I read about your first experience as babysitter for 15 minutes! Only after I knew your sister was ok, though:) Poor little thing. It must have been a terrible sight when you're parents opened the door. I bet everyone is having so much fun with you being the adults. Have a blast!

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  17. That's what it felt like to me when my husband and I watched my younger siblings over a weekend and house-sat while my parents went on an anniversary trip.

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  18. I loved being alone in the house, especially if my brother was also gone. This happened a lot after my mom passed away and I was still in High School , my dad worked and my brother started an apprenticeship. Now as a parent I'm not sure when or If I want to leave my daughter alone

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  19. Ah, Rachel, this gave me a good laugh! The first time home alone sounds totally epic! Glad things got better from there. Sounds like your mother had a good idea on calling home 10 minutes before they arrived. Have fun!

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  20. oh gosh, we were terrors when my parents would go away! we would pull pranks on the babysitters, feign sickness, hide - anything to keep our parents home. excited to see what kind of adventures y'all cook up while your parents are gone this time around :)

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  21. My brother and I are eight years apart, so I spent a lot of my young adolescent life taking care of him at home while our parents worked. I don't quite remember feeling ecstatic joy, but thats probably because 1) my mom called to check on us like every hour, and 2) I really wanted to go outside and play with my friends! Haha.

    My eldest is at the age though. I run an errand without her every now and then so she can know that I trust her ability to not burn the house down :)

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  22. Goodness...that story has me cracking up! Sounds like my family! In high school, my parents would often go out of town for a full weekend, leave my brothers with my grandmother and my sister and I would have the house to our selves. Now, my grandmother lived less than a mile down the road so we couldn't get into much without her knowing but just the excitement of being "independent" was enough. Oh, to have that excitement again! So naive!

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