Dear Freshman, Welcome Home and Here’s What Changed Since You Left

Like many empty-nesters, I spent all last summer reading countless articles about children leaving for the college process. From how I would feel to what to do about how I would feel, I typically read them with a glass of wine in one hand and a box of tissues in the other.

Turns out, I didn’t need them after all (even though most were informative and well-written). Nope, turns out I got what I needed….9 months of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid with all my heart and soul. I would lay my life down for him, as most parents would for their own offspring.

college student
Dear Son, here’s what’s happened since you left home. (Twenty20 @jrmylaux)

I lost something when you left but I found ME

And I’m sure that it was just yesterday the cabin door closed on my flight back home from dropping him off, and I cried much like the flight itself. Nonstop.

But today, there’s this other side of me…the wait-a-minute-you’re-coming-home-for-how-long side that has me scratching my head in wonder at how fast MY freshman year at the University of Empty-Nesting flew by. So, I decided to write him a letter with a list of things he might want to expect…and it goes a little something like this…

A letter to a son on his return home from college

Dear Almost-Grown Human,

As much as I can’t wait to see you, I thought it might be a great idea to give you a little heads-up on some things before your arrival….

I work out at night on the way home from work, and I don’t worry about rushing to a track or swim meet or being home to cook dinner. Sometimes, I don’t even eat dinner. Sometimes I have crackers and cheese and cookies. And I always have wine. (Okay, maybe the wine isn’t anything new).

This being said….come home. I promise to cook all of your fav meals, and can we please go for a hike or run together and really talk? I mean after I get done at the gym, of course.

I walk around naked whenever I want. Do I have a “naked room” like Terry Bradshaw in “Failure to Launch”? Oh no, no, no…I’ve taken over the entire house. Sometimes I make coffee naked, write naked, and fold towels naked.

This being said…come home. I promise to wear clothes.

I know exactly where ALL of the spoons and glasses are, and the one place they are not is under a bed cemented in a bowl of ice cream from 2010 or in the closet with milk rings that Ajax can’t take off.

This being said…come home. Just promise me you’ll at least TRY to remember to bring your dishes downstairs (consider it practice for next year’s housemates).

I sleep hard at night…well, most nights.

This being said….come home. But please, for the love of everything holy, don’t wake me up at 2 am making pancakes after a long night of….whatever it is you do (and no, I still don’t want to know).

I found someone the last few months, and it turns out even though she may be a little grayer, and she may need glasses to read…she’s still kind of a bad-ass, and I really like her again now that she isn’t wrapped up in the SAT prep and college acceptances. That’s right, baby! I am BAAACCKKK!

This being said…come home. I think you’ll really like her, too.

I started a brand-new career. It’s one I love and one where I have about 130+ kids to think about, worry about, get frustrated with, and be proud of (yep, I’m an English teacher).

This being said, Come home….You’ll always be my number one.

Chances are, I will sneak away a few days here and there because I love my space and freedom.

This being said….come home. You’ll need your space, too.

And finally…..even though I’ve spent the last 9 months without you and I’ve had some major fun while you’ve been gone….there have also been moments I’ve missed you, moments I’ve cried; moments I’ve worried, and moments I’ve been proud.

So, finish your finals, pack your car….and Just Come Home.


More to Read: 

What You’ll Love About Your Empty Nest

About Karen Hall

Karen is an Austin-based writer and high school English teacher who loves (and writes about) life, love, fitness and adventure in your 50s.

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