My daughter, a college freshman, comes home this week for her winter break. This means my emotions — like every other college parent’s – are running the gamut of YayyyyyyyyyyOoooooooohhhhhNoooooooooo.
Cue in collective nods from those who have danced this dance before me.
She’s had four months of independent living, coming and going at leisure, not having to answer to anyone and doing whatever in the world she feels like at any time she feels like it. These typical rites of college passage no doubt will make her transition back to home a nightmare of unparalleled proportions.
Guess I’d better get my thick-skin-suit out of storage.
We had a tiny bit of friction during the long Columbus Day weekend. We had a bit more (cough) differences of opinion during Thanksgiving. But let’s be real here. A few argumentative moments here and there are nothing compared to the barrage of discontent that will fester over five weeks.
Five looooooooonnnnngggggg weeks of
… ridiculous rules (because ‘don’t start a load of laundry and then immediately leave the house for twelve hours’ is …unreasonable?)
… crazy curfews (because bars can kick people out soon after midnight but parents shouldn’t?)
… and outrageous expectations to be – I don’t know – an active member of this family (because popping in for an occasional meal or – dare to dream – coming out of a bedroom for more than fifteen minutes at a time is … irrational?).
Yes, we are all sorts of looney over here. Poor kids – it’s just like West Point under this roof.
I know, I tell her, I remember. My mother and I drove each other nuts every winter AND summer I was home. I keep telling my daughter that, like it or not, it is the way of the world. That it is something every college student since the beginning of time will go through. Naturally my sage sentiments fall on deaf ears. She tries to reason …
It’s not fair.
She makes good choices.
(All true, I might add. But then she’ll throw in some crazy statistic like …)
She’s the ONLY one with a curfew
No one else’s mother even cares what they do or what time they came home.
Nope. Not one.
I then call balderdash and bam! we’re right back to a Saturday Night Smackdown. It’s sure to be a tough time but I’m ready. My litany of retorts isn’t very creative but it’s plentiful.
This is not your dorm room.
Get used to it.
It is what it is.
I felt this way, too.
Because I love you.
Because I said so.
I do trust you.
It’s only about safety.
I get it, I really get it.
and so on…
and so on..
But nothing is changing.
A mom is a mom is a mom.
Evidently we shall never see eye to eye on this but I imagine we’re not supposed to. I just hope she doesn’t sulk away her vacation like Greta Grump and enjoy some of the time while she’s with us.
The house, while still busy and loud and messy … is a brighter place when she is here. I so don’t want to be in Def-con 12 Battle Mode during the holidays. I kinda just want to watch movies under fuzzy blankets with her … and do a little shopping … and share some late lunches … and well, just sorta be with her. She’s eighteen and the years are moving her into adulthood faster than I can finagle. FortheloveofGod, she’s talking about Africa next year. I just keep shaking my head. And catching my breath some days.
Maybe, just maybe, she’ll go a little easy on the old lady and go with the curfew flow and pick up her room every few days.
Who knows. It could happen.
Santa, you reading this?
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You’re a good mom Tina. She’ll thank you one day. It will just be a long, long time from now. (Until then just shake your head, stay firm and pour yourself a big glass of wine!)
Hope springs eternal: She said she would start RUNNING with me 😉