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5 Ways I'm Back Home Ballin' This Holiday Season

It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I was sitting on the couch at my parent’s house, remote control in hand, mindlessly watching "Saturday Night Live" as I indulged in the type of snacks I would never keep around my own home.

That was when the parody video for "Back Home Baller" came on.

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And I died.

There I was, literally surrounded by bowls of snacks. Lounging on the couch like I had nothing better to do. Controlling the remote and listening for the load of laundry I had started that, really and truly, contained only the outfit my daughter had been wearing that day.

I realized I was the epitome of this song: a back home baller, taking full advantage of the luxuries of being home for the holidays.

Only, I like to think of it more as being reduced to a teenager during those visits.

I left home at 18 and never really looked back. At first, it was just a short distance, the difference between Arizona and California. But today, I live 3,000 miles away in Alaska. Trips home tend to center around the holidays, usually only lasting for a few weeks at a time. And as a result, you could say my family spoils me a bit when I am there—particularly now that I bring the first grandchild along with me.

I am a woman in her 30s with a mortgage and a job. I work for myself and always pay my bills on time. I manage responsibility like a champ and like to think I do this whole grown-up thing pretty well. But send me back to Arizona, sleeping in my parent’s guest room, and I am once more reduced to the maturity (and responsibility) level of a teenager.

If you live away from home yourself, you likely know what I’m talking about. And when you make those treks back to your hometown, these are the ways you are probably reduced to a teenager too.

1. Sleeping In

I have always been a night owl, the girl who could easily stay up until 4 every morning and sleep until noon if you let her. In high school, I missed my first period class more often than I made it—somehow only passing because the teacher decided not to take my attendance into consideration. But since becoming a single mother, my sleep-in days have been pretty much nonexistent. After all, I’m the only one around to get up with the baby.

I’m starting to think there isn’t much I could ask for during our holiday visits home that wouldn’t be provided.

It’s not that my kid isn’t a great sleeper, because she is. And most days, she can be counted on to let me stay in bed until at least 9. But there is just something different about being able to sleep until I wake up all on my own, no matter how late that may be. And while home for the holidays, I get to do just that—because it turns out, grandpa kind of likes stealing the baby monitor and getting up with our favorite girl all by himself. Which means mommy gets to sleep in until 11 without guilt.

2. Your Personal Menu

Every year, before my sabbatical home, my dad requests a list of items I would like from the grocery store. I try not to diva it up too much, but it’s kind of exciting to have someone else doing the shopping for you, when you are so used to doing it yourself. Plus, when I’m there, I can pretty much request whatever I want in terms of restaurants and takeout—my family takes pity on me for living in a state where not as much is available in terms of popular chains and Mexican food.

I would be about 300 pounds if I ate the way I do there all the time. But for a few weeks, it’s kind of fun to be a glutton.

3. Slovenly Ways

I swear, I am not a slob. In fact, I work hard to keep my house neat and tidy. You will never find dishes in the sink at my place, and laundry is always neatly folded and put away. But in Arizona? Well, it’s not entirely my fault, but my dad is pretty good about preventing me from lifting a finger. Every time I try to clean up the dinner dishes, he tells me to sit down and play with my daughter instead. Spills that my little girl makes are whisked away before I even have a chance to respond. My stepmom and sister are masters in the kitchen, so I find myself just trying to stay out of their way, instead enjoying every morsel they put in front of me to taste. And no one questions me when I go days without a shower, which happens at my real home too, but it feels more like a personal hygiene issue when others are around to witness it.

4. Driving Daddy’s Car

Nothing will make you feel more like a teenager than having to ask to borrow your father’s car. But when you’re home for the holidays without a vehicle yourself, it is sometimes the only option.

Even worse? When one of your parents winds up chauffeuring you around town, which is bound to happen.

5. Ask, And Ye Shall Receive

Day trips to both zoos? Done. An entourage to take my girl to visit Santa? Taken care of. A request for real mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving as opposed to boxed? Ask, and ye shall receive. And that new camera I didn’t even know I had been coveting? Happy early Christmas to me!

I’m starting to think there isn’t much I could ask for during our holiday visits home that wouldn’t be provided. One might think I should consider just moving back, seeing how much they clearly love having me there. But I maintain that if this was a full-time situation, the magic would disappear and I would no longer be a Back Home Baller.

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So, we’ll go ahead and stick to our two to three weeks every year, soaking up being spoiled while we can before heading back home to Alaska.

Where mommy is a grown-up with responsibilities, rather than a teenager being catered to, probably far more than she deserves.

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