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…


The Real Spring Break

Spring Break is here!  A whole week off with my kids and the puppy, with NO PLANS at all!  What a great feeling, the freedom to do anything that might come up on the spur of the moment!

What was I thinking??

When Spring Break week was still quite far off, I remember thinking that it might be fun to plan a road trip, maybe drive up the coast and visit places the kids have never seen.  Well, apparently that takes advance planning, none of which I seem to have done. Past Spring Break trips have been very memorable, especially the time we planned an entire week in Orlando and the kids didn’t know we were going until we got to the airport!

I would never be able to pull that off now.  With one teenager and one “tween”, nothing I do (or buy) seems to go unnoticed.  Planning to take a family of four across the country for a whole week without them noticing would be like entering the Witness Protection Program and announcing it on your Facebook page.

Without actual plans or a road trip to take, a whole week off may start to seem like a long time.  So this morning, I decided to make a few plans for our week:

Jungle Adventure

We have had record amounts of rain this season, probably half of which came down just yesterday.  The backyard is flooded, and the weeds have grown to the size of shrubs.  We will wear camo hats and use machetes to hack our way through the yard.  The puppy can be the elephant/lion/giraffe that we have to fend off to get to the weeds.  Our trophy will be the full yard waste cart.

Factory Tour

The only factory tour we really have left (since the Hershey factory closed and the car assembly plant shut down last week) is Jelly Belly, which we have seen (and smelled) several times.  We have a factory right here in our home that the kids should learn about.  It’s called The Kitchen, and it produces food at semi-regular intervals each and every day.  The head of the production line has to come up with the plan for the day, and then procure the supplies.  The Kitchen is supplied by frequent (and expensive) trips to the grocery store.  We will plan the daily production for The Kitchen, obtain supplies from the grocery store, and I will put the kids to work on the production line.

Road Trip

My son has his driver’s permit, which means that his father and I have to swear under oath (and sometime under our breath) that we will drive with him for a minimum of 50 hours between now and mid-July. For various reasons, including too much homework, a car in need of repair, and a feeling of tightness in my chest, he hasn’t had much opportunity to practice yet.  We will pack some snacks, a few antacids, and our sunglasses and venture out around town.  We will explore empty parking lots, vacant streets, and other places that nobody else drives to. There will be no talking, singing, or anything else distracting in the car on this road trip (except a few mumbled prayers), so that the driver can concentrate.

That should keep us busy for a few days…..