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Empty Nesters No More: The Flock is Back From College, Are You Ready?

How will you survive the kids' return?

They’re back! 

Like a homing pigeon returning to the coop, our kids are finding their way back from college.

My nest is full and the birds are hungry.

I have restocked the fridge and pantry with all the favorites in anticipation of the homecoming. In between the preparations for the upcoming holidays, moms are busy cooking their children’s favorite meals in celebration of a semester well done.

My welcome wagon distributes fresh flowers to my daughter’s bedroom and an abundance of junk food to my son's room.

Home sweet home!

Let’s be honest, the warm and fuzzy feeling of seeing your children only lasts about... I'll let you fill in the blank.

Suddenly the children we knew return home as adults and we're walking on egg shells.

As the clock strikes noon my son stumbles from his man cave with a grunt and heads straight for the fridge.

“What’s there to eat?” he asks.

I know he is home because the cheese and crackers purchased for the upcoming family gatherings have disappeared. What happened to my blue tin of Danish butter cookies? A collection of dirty glasses decorates the family room coffee table. He sleeps showers, eats and leaves.

He tells me how happy he is to be home.

We want a little face time with our offspring. Sit with me tell me about your semester, your friends, your travel. 

“OK Mom, and did you make a haircut appointment for me?” he asks.

The conversation is fast; a new text has arrived. “Have you noticed all the little things I have done for you?” I implore. 

“Umm, sure Mom. Where are the car keys?” is his answer.

He is an angry bird this morning; he had to drive dad to the train station. Four drivers, three cars... you do the math.   

Parents reinstate the curfew and ask too many questions. We wait up for them to return to the nest safely. They begin posting a countdown on their return to the dorms.

Home sweet home.

The rhythm of the house changes, we're learning this new dance.

Being together as a family, again.

My daughter has returned home after studying abroad. There is a renewal in her appreciation of things that mean home.

Maybe it's time and distance; maybe it's maturity helps our children notice what coming home really means.

She has been happy to start the holiday baking, but the washing machine only seems to work under my direction.

A friend of mine updates her Facebook status: her house is beginning to resemble a dorm room.

Yes, the nest was tidier and quieter when the birds were absent but flock's song is the music that makes a mom happy.

Enjoy this new tune and be careful as you navigate the eggshells.

Joan Rickettson December 21, 2011 at 08:38 PM
OMG, Lynn, you gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes! You should model writing for the kids in Wyckoff ... beautiful similes and metaphors, for sure! Our 29 year old and her boyfriend will be home Sat., and we can hardly wait!
Jean Gaviglio December 21, 2011 at 11:17 PM
OH so my house Lynn! How funny. And glad to hear it happens to everyone!
Hank December 22, 2011 at 01:23 AM
I have 2 that just pulled into town today everything in the fridge is now "fair game" even an old jar of olives....
Beth December 22, 2011 at 02:11 AM
great article Lynn go hit it head on !!!!
rosalind herschthal December 22, 2011 at 04:00 AM
Perfect analysis Lynn. Thanks and merry christmas to all in your house!
Lisa Steimel December 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Honestly Lynn, your articles leave me with a tear in my eye or a smile on my face - sometimes both! This one was right on the money (no pun intended!) ! Merry Christmas to you all!
John J Bruggemann Sr. December 23, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Well my darling some things never change.I,we had the same problems so long ago but relived by my children yeras later.Trying to sleep when one or more are out on a date?Good luck!! You fall asleep after you hear the garage door close and the door to their room close.ALL IS WELL.Thank you God.I still remember them as if they were yesterday some 40 years later.Thanks for reminding me of those days long ago.How true it is to this day.John Bruggemann Sr.(Pops)
Sandy Phillips December 24, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Great article Lynn! Isn't it great when they are back home? Although short lived we need to enjoy every precious minute that they give us! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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