There’s a first time for everything …

All the ‘firsts’ in our lives are significant.  At least mine have always been.  So I simply couldn’t resist this WordPress Daily Prompt:  “Tell us about your MovingDayfirst day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.”

There are dozens and dozens of ‘firsts’ I could write about, and I reserve the right to share them with you at another time, but today’s blog post is going to be all about my first apartment.

To start, you have to understand it was unusual for single girls to move out of their parents’ homes when I decided I wanted an apartment of my own.  It was acceptable if you were going to university out of town or if you were getting married.  Period.

You also have to understand I got along very well with my parents.  This was not an attempt, on my part, to get away from them because I hated them.

It was really quite simple; and innocent.  I had recently started to work — yes, my first job.  And I wanted a taste of independence.  I wanted to have to take care of myself and make my own decisions.  Not unusual for an only child.  I wanted to cook for myself.  And clean up after myself.  I wanted to come and go as I pleased.  Pay my bills and answer to no one.

Essentially I wanted to be a grown-up.

Telling my parents was easier said than done.  I rehearsed it, in my head, over and over and over again.  No matter how I phrased it, it seemed wrong.  I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  But I didn’t want to come across as being half-hearted, either.  I had to be serious.  Firm.  I was, after all, of legal age. Really, they couldn’t have stopped me.  But that wasn’t the kind of relationship we had.  I loved them, respected them, trusted them and had great times with them.  I didn’t want to ruin that.

But it was time.

I remember it so clearly.  The day I finally blurted it out.  I’d been in a high state of anxiety for a few months already; and at this point, the longer it took me to ‘fess up, the less likely I’d have been to belly up to the bar and get it done.  So I picked a Sunday morning when we were having breakfast.  My mother called us to the table and before I was even seated I spit it out, without taking a breath.   I know it sounded like one, long, run-on sentence:  “I’m of legal age.  I want my own apartment.  I don’t want to argue about it with you.  I just want my own apartment.  I’ve been checking the papers and I have some to see.  I am going to look for one today.”

Not the most graceful way of saying it, but I was a wreck.


Then they offered to come with me.  Yes, to my great surprise (and relief) they didn’t try to stop me.

Before they could change their minds, I started making appointments for later that day.  The first two even I didn’t like.  You can imagine my parents’ reaction.  They weren’t in the best neighbourhoods and the buildings were kind of run down.

Hey, you have no idea how little money I was earning.  I couldn’t afford much.

Thankfully the third, and last, apartment was on a terrific street.  It was a tiny building — only four stories.  But the neighbourhood was respectable.  I finally let my breath out.  The minute the Super opened the front door I fell in love.  It was cute, cute, cute.  And the price was right, too.  And it was downtown, walking distance to my office.  What more could I have asked for?

Well, as it turned out, my parents weren’t happy it was on the ground floor.  They feared for my safety.  As it turned out they were right.  I wasn’t even living there a year when I was robbed.  But that’s a whole other story.

My dad was going out of town on business the next day.  He begged me to wait until he came back to make a decision.  I had a cousin whose in laws owned an apartment building a couple of blocks east.  In truth it was a much better building and I would have had a much nicer apartment.  It was a bit more expensive but my father felt sure he could get me a deal, given we were related.  Sort of.

Stupidly I thought it was just a tactic to delay the inevitable.  I was wrong.  My parents knew I was old enough to live on my own and some of their friends were already going through the same thing with their daughters.  So they weren’t trying to stall.  They simply wanted me to be safe and have the best apartment I could have.

To quote our illustrious Mayor, Rob Ford (the king of meaningless apologies), I ‘effed’ up.  I insisted on renting the tiny, ground floor apartment, right that very minute.

Yes, I did live to regret it, but isn’t that what life’s all about?  Learning from our mistakes?

Well, mission accomplished.

24 thoughts on “There’s a first time for everything …

  1. Great post, Fransi. It sounds like your parents raised you to be independent. As hard as it was for them to see you leave home, they were probably very proud of you.

    • Thanks! They did raise me to be independent — especially difficult for parents of an only child. I couldn’t have asked for better parents for all kinds of reasons. I am very lucky 🙂

    • Ha! Yes I was lucky; and had open-minded parents. Which isn’t to say they were pushovers, by any means. We just always managed to work things out.

    • Thanks! Lucky for me, I always asserted and my parents always listened, never passed judgement and always “discussed” stuff with me. Whenever they did say “no”, I was always given a chance to make my case; and their decisions were always explained. Can’t argue with that. Clearly they endorsed my desire to be independent.

  2. Great post…as always! Totally brought back that terrifying moment when I was 20 girding myself to tell my mum I was ready to move out (knowing it would mean that she & my younger sister would likely have to downsize to a smaller place) but she was amazingly supportive…although I did get a few “told you so’s” after the fact ;). Loved the part in your post where your parents had the place in your cousin’s building as an option!

  3. What a great story, and one I’m sure many readers can relate to. “Effing up” in young adulthood is also something we can all relate to, and now as a mom, it’s hard to watch my young teen go through it. I resist the urge to overparent as often as I can, but let me tell you, it’s hard!

    • I know it’s hard.

      Our desire always is to protect our loved ones, to spare them from pain and the consequences of mistakes and bad decisions. It is counter intuitive to stand by and do nothing. And it is hard to know when the right thing is to say or do something and when the right thing is to do nothing.

      That’s why I am so grateful for the parents I had. They were always there to support and encourage and guide me; and regardless of how hard it must have been for them, they also let me become my own person — and more than that, they encouraged me and helped me to do so. They were always there to comfort me and celebrate with me as I navigated my way through life’s ups and downs.

      • That’s the kind of mom I want to be. Hope to be. I suppose just like my kids, I will also “ef-up” as a parent from time to time.

      • I am sure you already are. As for “effing-up” i don’t thing we can evolve as human beings without it. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn. I don’t know you, but I do read your blog and from what I see you are a warm, loving, compassionate, kind, caring, curious person. Sounds like great parenting material to me.:)

    • Lol! Tell me about it. He gets worse with every mistake he makes. Unbelieveable! Honestly, I have a pretty wild imagination and I could never have imagined this.

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