My twenty-two year old daughter, T, moved from the southern California area to northern California in July of 2006. She knew no one up here except me and her little sister. Well, she also had a boyfriend that moved up here at the same time. Not knowing anyone here, she posted an ad on Craigslist.org, looking for a room mate. After corresponding and meeting with several people, T and I met with one young woman for breakfast. She was a bit immature but very independent, resourceful, and friendly. They found an apartment in August and lived there together until last week.
In the year they lived together, both of the girls went through many changes. First, less than a month after moving up here, my daughter’s boyfriend of four years broke up with her because “there are so many girls at college” that he didn’t want to “limit himself.” T also ended up withdrawing from the college they both attended for a variety of reasons, mostly academic. Since then she has struggled with a couple of part time jobs that gave her such few hours of work that I had to pay her rent and mine, as well as most of her expenses. Last June she got a great full time job that pays her a very nice hourly wage. For her room mate things have been changing too. She has changed boyfriends a number of times, applied for transfer to another college 400 miles away (she begins in January), turned 21 and discovered booze big time! She is also a local girl who has a lot of friends here. She’s pretty much become a party girl. We’ve also discovered that she is quite self-centered. She rarely thinks to thank anyone for a favor. Last spring we took her along with us on a one week driving trip and changed our trip plans to accommodate her desire to visit the school at which she has been accepted as a transfer. I paid for all expenses. Not once on that trip did she say “thank you”. She makes plans with my daughter then gets a better offer and dumps my daughter. When we were on our trip last spring, we’d all be sitting together and a guy would walk by and E would say something like, “Did you see how he couldn’t stop looking at me?” Of course there were three of us that he could have been looking at but it was always E they were ogling, at least in her eyes. (In actuality they were looking at either E or T or both but not me. I’m far too old for them to have been looking at me, unless it was while they were thinking something like, “Wow what are those girls doing with such an old lady?”) My daughter has her “ways” too. I know she is not perfect but she always calls E to include her in her plans. She changes her own plans to include her room mate. T is quite thoughtful toward E. Last summer the two planned on moving out of the apartment house they live in at the end of the lease (August). However, E decided at the last minute that she did not want to move in September and then again in January to go to the new school up north. So my daughter stayed there at the apartment, even though she doesn’t like it there and they pay too much rent, just so E would not be stuck without a room mate. That was pretty thoughtful of her, I think.
Although the plan was for them to stay put til the end of the year, T became increasingly unhappy staying there because she never gets to see E or speak to her. They leave notes for each other and send emails. E spends a lot of time at another friend’s house and works different hours than my daughter and she also goes to school full time. T’s job is also 28 miles away from their apartment and she sometimes ends up getting home after 1 AM because of the commute time. Some of my daughter’s friends from work were moving in together and invited her to move with them. It would be much closer to work and about half of what T pays for rent at the apartment she shares with E. Being thoughtful, T turned it down so that E wouldn’t have to find a new room mate or get stuck with the extra rent for the coming three months. Then E announced that her boyfriend was planning on moving in with her when he got back from Iraq in a few weeks. In the end, my daughter’s friends rented a house without filling all the rooms and invited my daughter to move in with them in December, saying they’d keep a room open for her.
Over the past month I have listened in as T has left E voice mail after voice mail asking if she wants to do anything or just sit at home and watch a movie together so they can get caught up as they haven’t seen much of each other. E never even answers the messages. Last week, my daughter called me on her way home to say she needed to pick something up and would I have it ready because she and E were going out and E was waiting for her. When she arrived ten minutes later, I could see she was on the verge of tears and said she wasn’t going out with E after all. She tried not to cry but as she told me what had happened, the tears came (which is really difficult for this mother to handle). Apparently after T called me, E called her back. This is what happened:
T: “Hey! I’m almost at my mom’s and I’ll be home in fifteen minutes at the most.”
E: “I was just wondering if you’re going to drink tonight because I don’t feel like playing babysitter if you do.”
T: “Forget it. Go without me.”
E goes out drinking about three to four nights a week. My daughter hadn’t been out with friends in a couple of months. T interpreted the remark, and more so the tone, to mean that E didn’t want to share the spotlight with T, as has been in the past when they’ve gone to the karaoke place they were going to go to. And, she had just had it with E’s self-centeredness. She said she was moving out right away. She went out to the garage and looked for boxes and went home and started packing. She knew E’s boyfriend would be home from the Navy in less than a week so E would be without a room mate for two or three days at the most, if that.
T called the girl who was holding a room for her in the house they’d rented and told her she was moving in right away.
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