“Get out of my house! You think you grown?!
After seven long years of high school (it’s a Dutch/Caribbean island thing), I had less than a month before leaving for college. I could practically smell the jet fuel and salted peanuts! However, what was supposed to be a summer of fun parties and sappy goodbyes became known as the summer my mom kicked me out.
My older sister was visiting for the first time since leaving about three-ish years earlier. We were excited, we were grown-ish, and we were ready to have the best summer ever. Because my sister’s birthday fell after school let out, she never got to treat her classmates. It didn’t help that we were also often away on holiday so she couldn’t even invite her friends over. Our parents weren’t down for swapping birthdays (yup, I even offered to trade dates with her) or celebrate a month early. This year was going to be different because she and her friends were not tied to the school holiday calendar or parents with ridiculous curfews. As a soon-to-be 21-year-old, she was ready to celebrate in style: clubbing with the girls!
Her demands were simple: a banging dress, a cute squad, a jumpin’ club, and wheels. Anything with four tires and a running engine would do. Since she’d spent the past year saving up cash, she didn’t need our parents’ help or permission — or so we thought.
I was eighteen; old enough to go clubbing, but not old enough to stay out without my mother’s permission. My sister needed — not just wanted — me to go with her because she didn’t have a drivers’ license.
Roadblock. Our mom, the devout church lady, was not having it. Clubbing was for whores and she didn’t think I was responsible enough for a rental. No biggie, we would just ask our dad. What good is divorce if you can’t pit your parents against each other? I mean, no one likes to play bad cop.
As expected, my dad said “yes.” Technically, he said “I don’t see why not. I’m down if your mom is down.” The half consent was good enough for us! We rushed over to the car rental and secured our wheels for the weekend. Worst case scenario, we ask for forgiveness after our parents finished squabbling with each other.
Saturday night arrived and we got ready for an epic night out. We planned to leave while our mom was away doing church lady things.
My sister wasn’t surprised or disappointed when I choose not to actually enter the club; I was the good girl, the obedient child, the one focused on books instead of boys. The club wasn’t my scene. I just wanted to gift my sister a perfect birthday by being her chauffeur. Once she and her friends hopped out the minivan, I found some free parking and went straight to sleep.
As agreed, at two in the morning, I pulled up to the club’s entrance where my sister and her friends were waiting. We dropped everyone home and made it back to our mom’s house around five thirty. We arrived together. We left together. No one got sloppy drunk or into any fights. My sister also got some awesome photos. All in all, it seemed like a successful night to me.
“Get out of my house! You think you grown?! Well, then go live with Roberto or whoever you got that ride from!” my mother screamed.
Record break. Our mom was livid. Talk about super awkward because our younger sister and her friend who was sleeping over had to sit through the entire tongue lashing.
It was time to enact plan B. When we were able to get a word in, we told her that we had permission from our dad to rent the car and go. Monkeywrench: our dad totally did a 180 and told our mom that he did not and left us hanging. We were expecting them to squabble it out while we caught up on sleep.
My sister was expecting me to beg for forgiveness while she searched for somewhere to stay, because it was unlikely that I would actually leave the house. Plot twist. I called my mom’s bluff, told my sister to pack her ish, and we peeled out with the minivan. This was was actually a dramatically triumphant moment for me. Teenage me could be described as “servile” or “obedient to a fault.” However, I was done after eighteen years of “try harder, do better.” I was broken. I knew we weren’t in the wrong. I didn’t even go inside the nightclub and I made everyone wear their seatbelt.
I — the child who only got spanked once; who was on the honor roll and had perfect attendance several times — was being kicked out for one night of partying. I mean, sure full permission would have been ideal, but we had at least one adult co-sign the night’s events. I was eighteen!
With 14 days before my student flight to the Netherlands was set to take off, my sister and I spent the rest of her ‘baller vacation’ money on a hotel. We didn’t tell our mom where we were. I don’t even know why we allowed our dad and his treacherous butt to visit us, but we did.
Two days before my flight, I scheduled a meeting with my mom. I’d spent the last twelve days praying and reflecting — yes, I really was that child. The meeting was civilized, no cursing but also no real resolution. We didn’t speak for about three months after moving to Europe. It took about six months of semi-regular calls for us to re-establish our roles and boundaries. The calls were informal family therapy sessions.
My lesson? No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Just because someone seems like an authority figure doesn’t mean you should obey them blindly. When you believe in something, you must stick to your guns no matter the consequences.
Over all, my mom kicking me out after one night of clubbing was the best thing to happen to me because it taught me to stand up for myself. My mom is actually very good at raising younger children. However, young adults require more autonomy; you have to accept that it’s okay for people to have different lifestyle preferences. The problem with my mom is that she wanted us to make zero mistakes, she’s learning that we can do things differently and not be wrong.
About 6-12 months after the incident, our relationship improved because we don’t obey out of fear; we communicate, negotiate, and — most importantly — agree to disagree. We repeated the cycle when my sisters and I got married and had kids. My mom is a trooper and very willing to grow. When we hit a rough patch I don’t dispare because I’m confident we can come to a positive resolution.