2019-01-11 / Commentary

Home for the Holidays

40–Something

I thought this was supposed to get easier. Once the shock of dropping a kid off at college for the first time wore off, the separation anxiety was supposed to—at least— dissipate a bit. I’m afraid it’s actually gotten worse.

By the time this column goes to press, my second born will be back in school in the Upstate to start the second half of her freshman campaign, and the wife and I will be preparing to make the long journey to northern Indiana to take our first born back to school as a seasoned junior. It seems like they just got back here, and the thought of them leaving again hurts just as much as it did the first time we sent them off to college.

I’m not saying having my two daughters back in the house over the holidays wasn’t an adjustment. Things started to disappear on a regular basis again— like the remote control, my ice cream, and my only pair of functioning ear buds. Things started to mysteriously break once again, like the washing machine, hair dryers, and a vacuum cleaner or two. Privacy and moments of peace and quiet were virtually non-existent, but that’s all to be expected when there’s a full house again.

My son still has a couple of years left at home, but life with one child—especially one busy with high school and all that comes with that—is very different than having all three home...on vacation.

There’s just something very comforting walking out of my bedroom in the morning to find my daughters at the breakfast table...even if one of them happens to be eating the last egg or blueberry muffin.

As much as I enjoy having them home and how comfortable and nice my world becomes again, some things have definitely changed.

My wife and I thoroughly brainwashed our children to be Clemson fans. We taught them to sing the Clemson alma mater before they could sing their ABCs. However, after leading them through life with orange blinders on, they still chose their own paths. One went about as far away as possible from her roots, and the other chose a smaller school much more suited to her personality and interests.

So, as the fourth quarter approached and Clemson pulled away from Alabama in the National Championship game, my wife and I were going bonkers as expected. However, while I jumped around looking for high-fives, one of my daughters was fighting her heavy eyelids as she lay comfortably on the couch—happy but not too worried about the outcome either way. The other was screaming for 50 points..not because she wanted Clemson to look better, but because she wanted Alabama to lose to Clemson by way more than her school did.

That’s fine; I’ll take what I can get, and I’ll still miss them when they’re back in school even if all that brainwashing was for naught. The good news is that my ice cream won’t mysteriously disappear, and the remote control will be where I left it. The bad news is that I have to get used to life without them in the house again, and that’s not much fun.

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