Jim and I spent today driving up to Madison, Wisconsin, grabbing a moving truck, and moving our older son back home. Nothing bad happened; it’s just that the six-month internship he took on ended (as did his lease) and he hasn’t found a new place of employment yet.
Most parents probably don’t think, when they send their kids off to college (or a non-college alternative), that they’ll be back. If they did, I know there would be far fewer tears and less anxiety about the process. In an ideal world, the kids leave home, get their traditional (or non-traditional) education, find great jobs, support themselves without a problem and then live happily ever after.
We don’t live in an ideal world.
Sometimes, they come back.
I don’t think any of us are absolutely thrilled about this new arrangement. How many twenty-three year olds do you know who WANT to move back home? How many Empty Nesters have adjusted to life without kids in the house but suddenly dream of having them back?
Leave it to Life to keep things interesting, and though the three of us may have had occasional thoughts about how that ideal world situation sounds pretty…well…ideal, this arrangement also isn’t the worst thing in the world by far. We’re happy that we are in a position to help him out when he needs it, and I know that he’s happy to be able to land here for a while.
D is thrilled to be done with the house in which he lived for the last six months. He rented one bedroom and that is literally the space he used. The house was, to put it lightly, gross, and his roommates (who he couldn’t stand) had such a lack of regard for cleanliness (to put it lightly) that D only used the kitchen once in six months, to cook a frozen pizza. The rest of the time he lived on peanut butter sandwiches and other non-perishables that he kept and ate in his room, plus the occasional meal out. One of the first things to come out of his mouth this morning was how he was looking forward to eating “real food”, and you can bet your sweet bippy that Jim grilled salmon for dinner tonight, which is D’s favorite. I’m sure there are other creature comforts he’s excited about while living back under this roof and looking for that great job that will allow him to skedaddle back out of here on his own.
As for Jim and me, we joke about how short-lived our time as Empty Nesters was, but it’s not that big of a deal. The boys are grown now. We don’t have to do anything to take care of them, really. It’s just a matter of getting used to preparing a little more food and communicating about what everyone’s plans are now and then. They do their own laundry, generally clean up after themselves, and respond well to the rare request to cut the grass or do some other household chore. It’s just another change, and like always, we’ll roll with it.
In fact, on the way back from Madison this afternoon I found myself getting excited about having D home. That feeling was cemented as J–who’s home for another week of summer before heading back to college–and I helped him arrange his old room. There was such ease in chatting, talking about Foo Fighters and cars and the dog and whether Lenny Kravitz actually had underwear on that perhaps fused itself to his leather pants so it all ripped in one shot at that concert last week or if he really was going commando (which was likely but the other theory was hilarious to discuss), I found myself in a little part of heaven I had forgotten about, or at least stored in the back of my mind, because it had been so long. My boys are both home, and it’s kind of glorious.
Like anything else in Life, this isn’t forever. Kids are meant to grow up and leave home, but sometimes they come back for a while, and you know what? I’m okay with that.