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My parents are born and bred New Yorkers. Especially my mother. Brooklyn born and raised, Mama S. does not suffer fools gladly. She has no qualms about pointing out anything that she disagrees with, but she does it with such aplomb, you don’t even know what is happening. It is a trait that I hope I can master one day.

This is why I was so nervous that she and my dad were coming up to see the house A. and I bought and closed on last April. We moved in last May and have been steadily working on the house since. To say we bought a fixer-upper is an understatement. We have been dutifully stripping wallpaper, updating our heating system, adding insulation, painting, having the floors redone, and all the other joys of first-time home ownership.

My parents have been eagerly waiting to come up and see the new digs, but due to planning issues could not visit until now. This was both good and bad. Good because we have gotten a lot done (the upstairs wallpaper has been removed, the walls patched and painted, new ceilings have been put in, new outlets, the list goes on…). Bad because, well, there is still a lot to do, and sometimes I like to pretend I am a fully functioning adult. I think that is the one issue of adulthood I still can’t quite grasp. I still want approval from my parents about my life choices. I am in my thirties, I would not make any choices differently with or without the approval, but there is some innate need I have to hear my parents say, out loud, “You have made a good choice.”

They arrived on Saturday afternoon, so on Saturday morning, A. and I got up early and scrubbed the house to within an inch of its life. No cushion was left unturned, no tile was left untouched. It was below freezing outside, but inside I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts because I was whipped into a cleaning frenzy. I think A. was slightly worried about my mental well-being.

Then the car pulled up.

My parents got out.

Hugs were exchanged.

My mother counted the cement steps leading up to the front door. (To be fair, it is a lot since A. and I live on a hill).

She slowly went up the stairs.

I opened the door.

She walked in.

I inhaled as she looked around, slowly inspecting. The young child in me wanted to scream, “LOOK AT ME! I MAKE GOOD CHOICES! I HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE AND A CAREER! I HAVE NOT PARTICIPATED IN AN INTERNATIONAL SMUGGLING RING!” The thirtysomething in me just held her breath and hoped for the best.

My father joined her, they turned around, looked at me, and smiled. “You made a great choice! We love it!” I exhaled and relaxed. Then they followed up with, “I think we will stay an extra few days!” I silently thanked the cleaning gods that I had an extra set of clean sheets.