My College Student’s First Visit Home
It was 2:00 in the morning, and I heard the garage door open. Reminded me of old times. Tiptoeing out of my bedroom, I walked half way down the stairs. Peeking over the banister into the hallway, there he stood with a big grin on his face. His first words to me were “I knew you would wake up.”
I gave my college student a big hug. I am very happy he is home. He looks at me and you could tell things had changed. He said “Your hair is getting long, and it’s black!” He walked around the house, looking at everything. He opened the refrigerator, opened the food cabinet, just to make sure home was still home.
A lot has changed in the 3 months he has been gone. There are two new cars in the garage, and there is new family room furniture. But I think what has changed the most is that my son has grown up. It brings tears to my eyes, but it’s true. I asked him, “How does it feel to be home?” He said “Good but weird.” Life as Kai knows it has been college. His new home is his dorm room. He lives in Columbia, Missouri, not Aurora, Illinois.
I still think that there is magic in our childhood home though. Even though some things have changed, I wanted Kai to experience the familiarity of home – those things that made home what it once was. We spent the day cleaning the house, and decorating it for Christmas. What he walked home to was comfort and beauty, love and family – the wonderful things that make home special.
Everyone is excited to see Kai. His best friend is sleeping in our guest room right now – home from University of Illinois. His girlfriend is ecstatic and will drink in the time she has with him for the next week. Kai’s other friends wait in line to spend some time with him. Kai, for one week, will be reunited with the memories of his former life – life before college.
I know Kai will be leaving again soon so I want to cherish every moment I have with him. I have to navigate my way through the transition Kai is going through. This “weird” feeling he has means he is creating a life for himself as an adult. For three months, he has had no supervision. He has made all decisions on his own. He has taken care of his own laundry, made sure he was fed, decided when he goes to bed, whether or not he does homework, and who he spends his time with.
I’m still his mom, and to me, he is still my first born son, whom I adore with all my heart. I went out this morning to buy Dunkin Donuts for the family because I knew he would love it when he finally wakes up. I know I have to share him with all of his friends, but I want to make sure Kai knows, when he goes back to college next weekend, that home will always be home.