To my college sons:
We are so excited you’ll be coming home for Winter Break. We had quite a nice visit at Thanksgiving. But now it is December and our quick little visit in November made me want to share some thoughts on how we can have a great holiday season together.
How my sons can help make our holiday happier
1. Please don’t piss your dad and me off.
I know, “tis the season” and we’re supposed to be thrilled about every little thing that happens when we are all back together as one family group, but I want to ensure that you contribute to making everything festive and bright. Dad and I have feelings too, you know, and we’ve kind of gotten used to our space. So let’s be polite to one another and use words like “Please” and “Thank You,” even with your brothers.
2. Don’t forget, we still know more than you.
We’ve lived decades and have read more from the book of life than you have read from your college library. I am excited to hear about everything your professors have taught you but please don’t talk down to me. Educate me, inform me and open my eyes; but if I hear the phrase “Ok, Boomer” one more time, it’s going to be bad for all of us.
3. Pick up after yourselves.
I don’t mean in your room, that’s a bit too much to ask. But when you walk in the door prepared to explode all over the house just take a moment and remember that other people live here too. Carry your stuff to your bedroom and then pull the pin on that grenade. It will keep us from saying anything we shouldn’t in the your first 24 hours home.
4. Try the food I’m giving you.
I’ve gone to great lengths to pack the house with all the nostalgic things we’ve shared at the family table over the years. Please don’t turn your nose up at them. If I’m excited to bring the “chocolate wheat, beady, crisps” back into the house. It’s not because I’ll enjoy them. It’s because I’m trying to recreate those innocent moments where I watched you dig into a bowl, and smack your lips saying how delicious it tasted. Throw in a couple of “remember when we” statements and I’ll be so happy.
5. Do your chores.
You know the ones you did before you left for school? If you emptied the dishwasher then, empty it now that you’re home. Feed the dogs, take out the garbage and put away what you take out. We don’t mean to stress you out or pressure you, and yes we do those things now that you’re gone, but please pitch in and help.
6. Enjoy your friends but spend time with us.
We know most of your friends are home and we know you want to visit them, but please carve out some time for us. We are not as cool as your friends, and you may even consider us boring, but we want to spend time with you. We want you to want to be with us. It isn’t meant to be restrictive of your freedom. We really like you and we want you to spend time with us willingly. Note: Covid restrictions will make seeing friends different this holiday. Take these seriously when you decide to get together.
7. In the name of all that is holy, please put down your phone.
Especially when we are talking, eating, driving (don’t even think about it) and just look at the view with us. The landscape of your life will change so quickly that you’ll miss seeing what’s really special about it right now. Dad and I are a part of your landscape but we won’t be here forever so let’s look around together and enjoy what’s right in front of us. The Internet will be there until the next cool thing comes along.
8. Don’t ask us why mom’s crying.
You won’t get it. We didn’t get it at your age. We didn’t realize how bittersweet it would be to see you do something casually and realize how much we’ve missed seeing it. How much we miss the way you plop on the floor to play with the dogs or how you immediately check out the fridge and the pantry, sizing up what is there and what is missing. Just let us have a moment and if you are feeling particular empathy; we sure would appreciate a hug.
Thanks for reading and here’s to a great Winter Break. We are happy to spend time together and are excited for the start of a New Year. You could say we are totally stoked that you will be home. It will be lit.
But seriously, please remember the boomer thing. It’s not funny.
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