I’m the mom of a college student, and since I am, thankfully, still in possession of my two front teeth, all I want for Christmas these days pretty much comes down to a few simple wishes.
Of course I know I have to check my expectations at the (Christmas-wreathed) door. Of course I know my college student will have her own ideas about what she wants her holiday to look like. Of course I know the Norman Rockwell-esque vision I have dancing in my head is much more likely to end up looking like a Jackson Pollock painting.
But like a child writing an extravagant, uncensored letter to Santa, this list is really all I want for Christmas now that a big piece of my heart is living somewhere else most of the time.
- To send my college student this text: “what meals do you want me to make for you while you’re on break?”
- “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” playing on a repeat loop.
- My student’s favorite ornaments saved for her to hang on the tree.
- To feel like a kid on Christmas because my kid is coming home for Christmas.
- To put fuzzy sheets on a bed that hasn’t been slept in for months.
- Stockings hung by the chimney with care in hopes that the owners of those stockings soon will all be there.
- To get this text from my college student: “heading home.”
- To bake batches of holiday cookies that never last long enough to get stale.
- For everyone who calls me “mom” to be asleep under my roof.
- To make a double batch of pancakes on a Saturday morning…and still run out.
- More laundry in the basket, more coats hanging by the door, more shoes piled on the mud room floor, more cell phones charging at every outlet not being used by a Christmas light.
- The sound of all my children’s voices laughing together in the same room.
- To hug my student, just because I can.
- To think to myself that I need to text my student to tell her something…and then realize I can just walk into the living room and tell her in person.
- To go to bed at night without leaving my phone on because all the people who might need to call me at 3 a.m. are within earshot.
- To need to buy more milk, more cereal, more bananas, more laundry detergent, more toilet paper, and more—much, much more—pizza.
- “Silent Night” played in a noisy house.
- A Christmas movie marathon with the whole cast.
- Family game night with all the players.
- For the number of plates (from the special Christmas dish set) I get out for dinner and the number of people in my immediate family to be the same number.
- To do everything on our “next time you’re home” list.
And I’d like to forget, just for a moment, that my college student is home, then pass by a room and see her there and feel like I’ve just found a gift under the tree on Christmas morning that I’d forgotten I asked for.
Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two teenage daughters who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter (@guilty_mama).