Hi Mom, I'm Home

It’s mid-May and for many of us it’s the time when our college kids come home for summer break. Check back with me in late May to see if I’m still alive or if I’ve been strangled by a dirty sock.

My son arrives home from Phoenix tonight. (No, not University of Phoenix online college. If he was getting a degree by sitting at the computer all day, I’d know it. I think . . . ) He goes to Arizona State and he’s only been home twice since he started there last August. Whoever said the middle child gets lost in the shuffle didn’t know our family. I miss him every day. It could be because he’s very funny and personable and fun to be around. He’s tall, so he can reach things for me that no one else can. And he knows lots of movie trivia and sports stats, so he’s handy to have around at parties or even at a discussion.

The child who goes away to college and then returns home for the summer is in a quandary. He’s been living on his own, without his mom telling him to set his alarm clock, don’t go to sleep with the computer on, don’t put metal in the microwave, and pick his clothes off the floor. He lived through it all without doing any of the those things. He knows the truth now: That you actually won’t die from eating Hot Pockets and Totino’s Pizza Rolls for three meals a day for six weeks; that you can skip Mass and not get struck by lightning.

And now suddenly he’s home again and there’s Mom, getting all up in his grill with her demands and questions and requests to get things off the high shelves.  Will she never shut up? No, apparently she will not.

When kids go off to college, the parenting builds up. Every day that we normally would say, “Are you flossing?” that we can’t, it doesn’t just dissipate and go off into space. It builds up. You go a few months in between visits home and you’re likely to be bombarded at the airport with a barrage of questions, advice, Confucius sayings and Bible verses.

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life,” many moms say to their children as they’re unpacking. “Also, what shampoo are you using these days? Are you always going to wear your hair like that now?”

It will take three-quarters of the summer for me and my son to get our mom-kid groove back, then we’ll go on a family vacation, which will require another adaptation - to the Stockholm Syndrome of being imprisoned in a foreign country unnaturally close to relatives (another blog topic, for sure). Then, before we know it, it’ll be time for him to go back to school.

Ah cripes, he’s not even home yet and I’ve mentally got him packed to leave. I really am looking forward to him being home. I hope he can not kill me long enough for me to miss him when he leaves again.

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