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A toaster oven that can provoke many questions toward mothers. 

I don’t know about you, but in high school I couldn’t even touch the doorknob to leave my house without my mom inquiring about my whereabouts from three rooms away. I dreaded every “Where R U?” text and every missed call, and don’t even get me started on voicemails. You finally get your license and a car and the world is your oyster, until you realize that being mobile does not in any way mean your mom is letting you go.

Once you get to college, you finally have your first-ever dorm or apartment in the serene little town of Blacksburg. You’re free to come and go as you please without any frantic texts from your mother. But then laundry day comes and you realize you’ve never so much as separated whites from colors. You instinctively pull out your phone to text the one person who has an answer for everything — your mom.

I have personally presented some ridiculous inquiries to my mom since my departure from the comfort of living under her roof, so I have taken this opportunity to compile a few of my favorites from the past year:

“How do you kill a wasp?”

If you want to talk about panicked texts, this is a prime example. Hearing buzzing around your room is disheartening as is, but when you find the source of the buzzing to be a wasp, you can’t help but curse the fact that your mom isn’t there to deal with it for you. If your mom was also executive in charge of killing every unwelcome pest that entered your home, you can probably relate to this panic.

“Is this garlic minced enough?”

I definitely took my mom’s home-cooked meals for granted, which is a sugarcoated way of saying I never learned how to properly feed myself. They say if you can read you can cook, but I read the step-by-step recipe and still texted my mom about 12 different questions over the course of the time it took to cook one meal.

“How do you get soot off a white wall?”

In my defense, I was not allowed to burn candles in the house for my entire pre-college career. One of the first rebellious things I did when I got my apartment was light every candle I could find. I did not realize the importance of wick-trimming until the white wall behind my nightstand turned black, and I was left scrubbing it with every harsh chemical in the house to try to remove the soot. If you were wondering, nail polish remover does the trick.

“Is this how you write a check?”

You’d think that taking an economics class in high school would provide you with the most basic financial information of all-time check writing. Think again. Checks are literally labeled with which information goes where, and yet, I still had to run it by my mom before handing it in to make sure it was correct.

“Where would pesto be in Kroger?”

Kroger in Blacksburg is full of college students who know how to grocery shop efficiently and cook their own meals every night. This creates an unspoken class warfare between those of us who have nothing in our cooking repertoire and those of us who could whip up a four-course meal on demand. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to ask for help finding the most basic ingredients, so what do you do in this situation? You text your mom.

“If I put the toaster oven setting on ‘medium’ will it explode?”

Toaster ovens turn bright red on the inside, fog up the glass and smoke as if they’re about to self-destruct with each use. Naturally, that raises concern for someone with minimal kitchen experience. Thankfully, moms know everything — especially when it comes to reassuring you that you won’t blow up the kitchen by using appliances the way they were made to be used.

Oh, how the tables have turned. Instead of you being the one receiving distraught texts about your whereabouts or worried voicemails begging you to respond in the next 20 minutes before she files a missing persons report, your mom’s phone is the one that is buzzing off the table. In high school, you probably wished nothing more than to be able to block her number without repercussions, and now you’re blowing up her phone about how many chicken nuggets you ate for lunch or seeking advice on how to put on a fitted sheet.

College is the true test of how well you can survive without constant parental guidance, and sometimes that reality is less impressive than we’d like to admit. In times of crisis when you can’t figure out how to make that doctor’s appointment on your own, be sure to tell your mom how much you appreciate her unconditional love and guidance, even in the most pathetic of circumstances.