Many of my friends and clients have endured the big transition of sending a child off to college and figuring out the 'new normal' with a less than full house. I've heard talk about accidentally setting too many plates at the table, having to rework a grocery list to accommodate less mouths and scheduling a Skype call for birthday celebrations.
Enter Thanksgiving Break. The college kid comes home and sleeps his way through the early morning bus runs that the siblings must suffer for the first part of the week, the bathroom schedule is upended and there are suddenly 137 shoes and jackets to trip over as opposed to the mere 82 that have become my routine land mines. This 'new normal' that most families have adapted to throughout the fall is now interrupted and we all transition again.
It's only been three months and yet the college kid has done a one-eighty. An entirely new living situation, meal routine and academic regiment. New friends, infinite experiences, unbridled freedom and yet, now their parents want to know where they are.
I read a discussion online by a group of parents of freshman about whether to enforce a curfew when their child was home for break. I read another discussion from another group of parents worrying about their freshman being able to negotiate the airport and all that entails to arrive safely home to their excited, worried and wanting-to-parent-but-not-sure-how parents.
Once again, it will be a learning experience for all of us, parents and kids alike. A beautiful and brilliant woman reminded me "one day he will be a parent and he will know that you yelled at him out of fear. Until then - just think about how we felt when we were 18 and so desperate to prove that we could manage by ourselves, and how galling it was to find out that we couldn't".
Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all of the new freshman, their loving parents and everyone else that happens to still be reading.