Tweaking Us

Holden successfully completed his first year of college and arrived home sicker than a dog. His temp spiking as his body sought to recover from the enormous lack of sleep, poor food choices and long hours of studying for finals. He looked haggard, and it was difficult to understand him because his voice was almost gone. As soon as Holden was in his own bed, the sleep that eluded him came fast. He slept like a baby and became healthy again.

He arrived home sans his vast collection of nasty looking high tops. Also missing were the all-too-low-riding jeans, shorts and pants (“saggers”). During his first year of college he morphed into a prepster and now wears items like whales on his ties, sailboat adorned red shorts, slim above-the-butt properly fitting brightly colored pants, polos, and Sperrys. My, my, my…

When we left him at college last August Holden was madly in love with rap and hip-hop. His musical tastes broadened; he became a raving country fan. He attended the Brad Paisley concert the other night.

It’s cool. We’ve been preppy. We enjoy country.

Holden has been fortunate to secure fulltime summer employment (achieved when home during spring break). The hours are long, but the pay is fair. With driving, he’s gone for twelve hours long, so I don’t see him much. The “missing” I felt while he was away at college hasn’t fully abated.

Warned, I was ready for his newly expanded independence. Well, I thought I was.


How wrong I was.

Having a child home after they’ve been away for an extended time is an adjustment, for everyone. We have to become used to being physically together again and work through and come to an agreement about the expectations, rules and checking-in that are part of being a cohesive, connected and thoughtful family unit.

We’re tweaking us as the family dynamics change. When to step up, when to step back. The “dance” has changed. I still get to do Holden’s laundry and make his lunch. So far, so good…


Filed under Epiphiany, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom

6 responses to “Tweaking Us

  1. Chris LS

    Yes Judy, I think we who have been ‘away’ college students know how it feels to come home. It is home in so many ways, and yet, home holds things that are anathema for a newly returned young adult. We want to be an adult, yet coming home means that we are once again a part of the family; a child, a sibling, a kid who might have chores to do, and certainly a parent’s expectations to live up to again as if we never went away.
    For the siblings, while they might relish having their bro or sis back, there is something else in the works, a dynamic thing that sometimes builds, new responsibilities, perhaps new resentments, and of course their sibling is hardly like they recall…It can be a wonderful time and a difficult and trying time.
    But for an enlightened parent such as yourself or Mark, I am sure you will find the proper blend of wisdom, humor, and new rules that will help everyone get along again.
    Enjoy your time with Holden yet remember that he still needs to have his wings and fly every so often. You and Mark will still always be his mentors, his loving parents, and your home his sanctuary when the world hurts.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Chris. I remember how I was when I arrived home. It’s a different perspective now as a parent.

  2. Teresa K. Smith

    Finding the familial balance again when the “adult child” comes home, whether from university or because circumstances warrant a return is difficult. We, as parents of an adult, have to realize our baby no longer exists and they, as our child, have to realize they’re still our baby. Yep, it’s an oxymoron. The most difficult adjustment at our home has been the youngest child who for the first time in her life has lived as an only child for months. Suddenly, she’s the youngest again.

  3. I enjoyed reading this, Judy! I have 5 years before I am to experience this…but it’s so nice to see that they grow up and so do we!:) Good for you for tweaking the family unit and adapting to the changing times. You are right! “My, my, my”…he’s grown up so much and you have too, my friend!

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