Last fall I wrote about the sadness of sending my youngest off to college, transitioning to a new chapter and accepting the reality of life without my children at home. In the back of my mind, I knew they would be back for an extended period over the following summer and clung onto this fact to help me cope with thoughts of my boys moving out. “I get a little more time before they really move out for good.” I thought.
It is not like I didn’t know what it would be like when they returned. I knew of the challenges of trying to coexist all over again. Having them home is better than not. Or is it?
The time has come. The boys are back. I couldn’t wait to see them, hug them and feel like they are mine again. The first few days were wonderful. And then we all got the cold water splashed in our faces, so to speak, and realized this adjustment was going to take some time, some tweaking and some ups and downs.
From their point of view, they have become (relatively) independent living away from home. They can make their own decisions about daily life. Why should that change now that they are home? Parental comments about where they are going, what they are eating, when they are going to pick up after themselves are just annoying.
Do you remember when you came home from college for the summer? I vividly remember my experience, the struggles and fights. I try to put myself in their shoes for the moment.
It is hard for them to put themselves in our shoes. I don’t think they can relate until they have children of their own.
From our point of view, we have become accustomed to our new freedom and a tidy, (well semi-tidy) home. For months we did not have to worry about food in the fridge, sharing cars, waiting up for the boys to come home and could focus on our life as a couple.
Writing this blog is a struggle. My emotions are all over the place.
One minute I find myself wanting to write how wonderful it is to have the boys at home and how they are maturing and transitioning from child to adult. Time has gone so fast. They were my babies yesterday and now they are grown men. I am so impressed with the young men they have become.
The next minute I am walking into the house at noon, the boys have just awoken, the house is a mess and the minute I open my mouth we are fighting about everything under the sun. Clothes and shoes are everywhere, the kitchen is a mess and we are arguing about taking responsibility.
We all agree with this image. We all drive each other crazy at times.
Breathe…I am not breathing…..
Ok. Now I am breathing..
Until my boys start drinking my wine.
Wait! Who drank my wine????
Truth is, this is a rollercoaster ride. There are ups and downs and the ride often unpredictable.
There are moments that are so wonderful. The house is buzzing with energy, laughter and joy.
Despite the distractions of a messy house, blaring music and everything else that comes with my boys, what is beginning to emerge is the indication that my sons are growing up. We are moving closer to each other in ways we may not have imagined.
We share music, watch many of the same movies, binge watch similar programs. share books and articles and talk politics, sports, you name it. Discussions about our favorite beers, wines and cocktails frequent the dinner table. My Mother’s Day gift from one son was a set of funky margarita glasses and margarita mix. Times have changed.
My boys are now interested in learning more about me. They are curious about what I was like when I was their age. “Were you cool or a nerd?” “Were you a partier?” They want to know if I were someone they would have hung out with. Maybe they are starting to think of me as a person rather than just their mother. We begin to share our professional work experiences as well. Both sons have internships for the summer and will be exposed to the commuting and long hours of a demanding job. We share commuting tips, best lunch spots and after hour hot spots.
My guess is many of you can relate. Our children are back from college and no longer children except sometimes they still act like children. We all tend to fall into old patterns when we return home. They invade our space, fall into old patterns and the house becomes Alpha Sigma whatever. At the same time, we also see them as interesting, intelligent and charismatic people. They are maturing and acting in grown up, responsible ways, which make us so proud.
Life as an “empty nester” is on hold. My boys are back in the house and we are a family again. I see the pendulum swinging back and forth from childhood to adulthood, sometimes on one side more than the other. But it is shifting more towards adulthood little by little. My babies, my flesh and blood are home and I love them dearly. I know in my heart that soon they will graduate, get jobs and move away and I want to enjoy the time we have now. So, I remind myself to breathe and embrace the experience.
We may face some bumps along the road. It is new territory for all of us. In the end, I am blessed to have this experience for good or bad. Life has thrown me curveballs and staying healthy to enjoy my boys has been my blessing.