Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home or Bust

Look out parents – your kids are coming home for a three-week break!

Oh, sure you parents of first year students might be asking “why the warning? I’m so excited to have my son/daughter home.” Well, I used to be naïve like you.

First of all, warm up the washer and dryer. They will be bringing home baskets of dirty laundry, every stitch of clothing they own, because they have not done laundry since Thanksgiving break. Guaranteed.

Then there’s your grocery bill. Yikes! “Mom, what are you getting me for Christmas?” “I’m feeding you for three weeks.”

Of course I’m joking. There is a special joy in caring for your loved ones. Plus, you can find out a lot about what they’ve been doing while doing laundry. For instance, my son came home from his first semester with multiple intramural champion t-shirts. Of course my loaded question was, “And how were your classes?” And who doesn’t get warm fuzzies from making your loved ones’ favorite foods?

You may have visions of spending LOTS of quality time with your offspring, working side by side wrapping gifts, shopping, making cut-out cookies, going caroling, the real Rockwell Christmas. Well, sorry to bust your bubble, but forget about it.

Chances are pretty good that for the first few days your student will eat and sleep, not necessarily in that order. Once they have recovered from the rigors of finals week, you’ll find out that their internal clock is now running on college student time. On college student time, it’s not unusual for one to make plans to go out with friends at, say 11 p.m.

Your son/daughter will probably make plans with friends that you know nothing about until they are walking out the door. You may have prepared a family game night thinking they were going to be home for the evening. That’s OK, you can eat the popcorn while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” By yourself. For the fifth time.

Then there is the new routine you have developed in your student’s absence. You know that carefully choreographed morning bathroom routine. “How did we ever do this with one more person in the mix?”

However, the students I’ve talked with are really looking forward to going home for break. Is it to see friends? To eat homecooked meals? To bid farewell to fall semester classes? Yes. Yes. And yes. But it’s also to see family, to be loved, to relax and rejuvenate in the comfort of home.

And as a parent, doesn't that make for a wonderful life?

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