Although there are many different interpretations of home, who says, “you can’t go home again?” Here’s the thing. Being Mom to four kids, one a recent graduate of New Paltz, and two others still in college, from my perspective, oh yes you can. And you do.
My daughter recently moved in with her boyfriend and got a new job. Although she doesn’t come over to do her wash, she does call to see if there is anything she can grab for lunch, or asks what her dad is cooking for dinner. Friday night is grocery night for her and her honey. Do they only shop for a few days, then leave the rest to chance? I think I will ask her the next time she is in the kitchen making herself a tuna sandwich.
The two college boys, one a senior in Florida, the other a junior in Vermont, are a little too far away to drop in for a meal. But when they are home, they don’t skip a beat. The dirty laundry gets dumped in the basement. George, the family cat, gets checked for his latest softness level. The fridge gets raided, and the homebound little brother gets moved from his favorite spot on the couch. Since their dad is the head chef of the house, he might be home from work 2.3 seconds before they too want to know what’s for dinner.
Please. Don’t get me wrong. It is okay when my kids make their way through the front door. Whether it is for a meal or a week, I love when they are home. I have missed them. But here’s the thing, just because they have been out on their own, doesn’t mean things are different in the day to day workings of the house they grew up in. Garbage still needs to go out, the drainboard needs emptying, groceries need to be put away, and manners still matter.
Although we are a loving family, everyone isn’t all huggy-smoochy. You and yours may or may not be either. But do me a solid. When you do go home with a suitcase full of stinky t-shirts and track pants, a little hug, being nice to your younger sibling, and feeding the family pet is noticed and appreciated. Straighten up your room. Don’t leave your smelly clothes or wet towels on the floor. Show your parents they taught you how to be a good human out in the world.
We know you won’t always remember to send a Hallmark card, but when you are home, how about a “thanks Ma,” or a “love ya Dad?” It doesn’t cost you anything but time and effort. It won’t kill you either, and trust me. It will make your folks happier than you could ever know.