Fresh sheets and fluffed up pillows were placed on the bed. The vacuuming and dusting was completed. Halloween and fall décor was placed throughout the house. Cookies were baked and shelves stocked with some favorite food items. My schedule was freed up for the next couple of days. Sounds like some special company was coming for the weekend? Well, yes, sort of…it was my daughter’s first visit home since leaving for college and I was hyped.
It had been 2 full months since we moved her into the dorms and I’ve missed her. I mean, really missed her. I had quite a bit of anxiety, as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve been reading about all sorts of “college changes” and almost foreboding warnings about the first visit home from your college student. Was I going to be prepared for who’s going to walk through the door?
Warning #1: “Your child may not want to share his/her new life with you and this should be respected”. Oh, dear. I’m not good about this one. I tend to take on the role of an interrogator when it comes to people, but I will exert some self control.
My Reality: My daughter arrived late the first night, but greeted me with hugs, kisses and much conversation. We ended up staying up for several hours as she talks about her new friends and exciting college life, all the while eating pumpkin mellowcremes. Who is this young adult who is so entertaining and open about her life?
Warning #2: “Be prepared for your college student to be very tired, keeping unusual sleeping hours –sleeping late and taking naps”. That might work out okay. I do like quiet mornings.
My Reality: While I was enjoying my morning coffee, I hear a boisterous request, “Wanna go for a run with me?” It’s my daughter-the supposed “tired” college student. I glanced behind me to make sure she is indeed talking to me. Yep. I must oblige. Who is this energetic young adult who desires my company?
Warning #3: “Your child may be conflicted with his/her new role in the family and family chores and even certain family traditions may be questioned”. Uh-oh. I am a creature of habit and like each family member’s roles and really love our family traditions. Can I handle this one?
My Reality: Later in the day I find my college student unloading the dishwasher and baking candy corn cupcakes. She even washed the dishes after the baking! She then proceeded to complete her homework on the cleaned kitchen counter. Who is this responsible young woman?
Warning #4: “A common behavior is regression. Your child may have become weary of taking care of things by themselves and may want some “mothering”. Bringing home loads of laundry is extremely common.” I’m ready for this one! A brand new jug of Tide is awaiting to be opened. Plus, I love the mothering thing.
My Reality: When asked where my daughter’s laundry is, she responded that she washed it all at school. She further explained that she cleaned her room and bed sheets, too, so that when she returns, all she needs to be concerned with is class the next day. Who is this organized domestic goddess?
Warning #5: “Don’t expect undivided attention from your child-he/she has a new found sense of independence and may want to spend time alone or with friends.” I tell myself not to be clingy. I will take a deep breath and let her choose her own schedule.
My Reality: Evening time rolls around and my daughter asks if I would like to watch some television with her. She wants to watch “whatever you want to, Mom”. She snuggles up on the couch next to me and we watch a 90’s classic (it is for me!), The First Wives Club. “I just love Bette Midler”, she announces. Who is this wise and mature young woman?!
This wonderful weekend came to an end and I found myself wanting to seal these moments in a bottle. Seeing my daughter already change and grow fills my heart. The college years are filled with many more changes and adjustments and I will continue to prepare myself for the worst, but hope for the best. But for now, I will relish in being proud of exactly who walked through those doors.
French novelist, Victor Hugo, sums up change rather nicely. “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” Truly words to live by.