Coming Home

college student coming home for holiday

How do you feel, when you walk through that door…

Home for a quick visit; a week at best.

Dropping your heavy duffel bag onto the floor while the dog slathers you with welcome back kisses.

Same old home, same familiar spaces where you’ve spent most of your young life.

But maybe a bit foreign to you now.

Does it feel like home, like a place you’ve never left in your heart?

Or just a vaguely familiar memory?

When you walk down the hallway to your bedroom, do you see the little boy there, picking up jelly beans that the Easter Bunny left in a trail?

I do.

And in your room, your big boy room at the front of the house…

See that small boy standing at the window, waiting for the garbage truck?

He’s still there.

This empty room is still filled with him, everywhere I look.

And then, when you are here in the flesh – all over-six-feet of you with stubbly beard and deep voice – the room fills again but the memories are new.

No tucking-you-in at bedtime; no rushing to the window to greet the garbage man.

Do you still feel at home?

Or too anxious to get back to your new life?

With each visit home, you take a step further away.

That was the plan all along…

Simple words cannot express the pride I feel, watching you grow into a young adult.

But my heart misses that little boy sometimes…



  1. Dah!!! You are sending my pregnant emotions into a tailspin with each one of these (beautifully written, mind you) posts. I can’t help but visualize what my little boy will be like at 18. Or what I’ll be at 44 …

  2. You kill me. Every. Time. 4 years.

  3. I know it’s coming, S. I know it’s coming.

    But I just can’t imagine what will happen to my heart.

    I couldn’t even make it through this beautiful post…

  4. The tears come earlier and earlier when I read your words.
    The older Matthew gets, the more I see him in Michael.
    Where does the time go? And is there anyway possible to slow things down?

  5. Sherri, you are a gift to us moms with little ones still at home waiting for that garbage truck. You remind us to appreciate and treasure those small moments. Thank you. XO

  6. Oh I feel this and I’m still 8 years away. So beautifully said.

    I need to be more like my mother who converted my bedroom into her office within about 2 weeks after I left for college. lol

  7. I feel two things when I read this.

    First, I feel the familiar heart tugs that I always get reading your posts about Michael and how you miss his little boyness. It reminds me that my boys will only be small for so long.

    And secondly, I remember being Michael’s age. I remember coming home from college to a home that was everything to me as a child, and realizing each time I came back it felt more and more like being a guest. Not because of anything my parents did, but because I was becoming an adult without realizing it.

    I wonder if my mom and dad felt this way. I wonder if they imagined my little girlness only to be surprised all over again when I came home all grown up.

    Life is weird, isn’t it? One day a house is the center of your universe…your safe place. The next day it’s “your parents’ house”.


  8. I completely get this. Two of my boys have moved to the other side of the country and it doesn’t feel too great, but at the same time, pride kicks in, too. You stated the myriad of feelings that come over us, as parents, beautifully!

  9. This made me tear up and my boy isn’t even 6 yet. {sigh}

  10. With each post I read, I feel as if I’m reading my own thoughts in the future. I also know I’ve said that before, but it’s still true.

    You words paint a the exact picture I feel as I watch my baby boys grow into young men. We want them to grow up and become responsible members of society, but at the same time I don’t understand how it’s happening to so fast. It feels like yesterday I was holding their hands as we fed the ducks at the park or picking out new shoes for school.
    Now? We’re studying for our driving tests and talking about what school they want to go to for college.

  11. Oh, my heart. Can I just keep mine young?

  12. Oh Sherri. Oh oh oh.

    I feel every line of this post growing in my bones, my heart, my head…Or, more accurately, growing in my boy who is almost 15.

    Of all your words, these hit me hardest (best? most? teariest?):

    “That was the plan all along.”

    Is there a sharper paradox than this?
    (Or Catch 22 or irony or oxymoron or whatever that thing is where you want something but don’t want it?)

    Yes. I want it. And I don’t want it.

    It is the plan but. But but but.
    It’s happening so quickly.

    None of my other plans seemed to come to fruition in the blink of an eye. Why this one?

    “With each visit home, you take a step further away.”

    I need to go hug my son.

  13. Tomorrow is Thursday. Garbage day in our house. If we are lucky, the lawn guys may come too.

    Hugs, Sherri. I know.

  14. Oh man. Just knocks the breath right out of you. I’m lucky that I have a girl so substituting each ‘boy’ for ‘girl’ at least gives my heart a moment to pause while I read this.

  15. Aaaand, I’m all teared up.

    My firstborn, my son, just learned to ride without training wheels today (just blogged it) and now I can imagine him leaving me.


    You always make me appreciate the moments with my kids. As bittersweet as your memories are, I am so grateful that you share them here.

  16. This post makes me cry.

    But I have to tell you that I just went to my mom’s today, and it still feels like my house. (Of course my parents are maybe a little weird, and my room still looks very similar to how it did the last few years I lived there…)

    There’s something about the place my mom lives that makes it home for me 🙂

  17. Stop making me cry. After losing my nephew last week, I particularly wish I could stop time. Or turn it back, I guess.

  18. Oh i remember that. The feeling that i was a visitor. How quickly things changed, like different groceries they bought or restaurants they went to.

  19. Kathleen says:

    This was really lovely. I’m sitting in my cube at work, weeping (doesn’t take much these days.) And eagerly awaiting my college sophomore’s arrival “home” for Easter weekend.

  20. Ohmyheart Sherri, I remember being on the other side of this, and my heart hurts at the thought of my kids taking those same steps away from me and towards their new home.

    (I know that’s the idea, but still.)

    Beautiful writing, beautiful you.

  21. My littlest clutched his toy garbage truck our entire car ride this morning. I can just imagine these days coming. You handle it (and write about it) with such grace Sherri.

  22. I see those days coming, not sure I will handle it well. Love you new picture!

  23. Oh, I miss them, too — all four of them! So glad I found your blog!

  24. What a beautiful post! I hope you did have a wonderful visit with your son. It’s so hard to let go and yet, it seems like you have it all under control. Oh there’s that nostalgia for sure, but you seem amazingly calm and collected. Like Dr. Mom said, thank you for reminding us with little ones to appreciate these tender moments.

  25. more tears, everywhere I turn today there are tears.
    But your beautiful words are lovely as always.
    And when will I hear them in person again?

  26. I love your beautiful words. And I can’t wait for our college freshman to be home for the summer!

  27. Oh my heart.
    Even at 2 I look at my daughter and ache for her to still be a newborn but I burst with pride as she learns to be independent. It’s bittersweet and you write about it perfectly.


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