I had an idea for a humorous blog post about having all my boys home this month. As much as I love my sons, I admit that I was kind of dreading having a full house again, after the relative peace and quiet of only having one at home. I actually felt a sense of impending doom in May before my two older sons returned home.
I knew my oldest son, who recently graduated law school, would be moving home with the entire contents of his DC apartment, not just a dorm room’s worth of stuff, like my middle son. I steeled myself for the onslaught, and thought about the amusing things I could write about regarding their reentry to our home and suburban life. But then a funny thing happened, something I could not have predicted: I started enjoying their company.
I still have plenty of things to say about the difficulties of having older children living at home. My dining room resembles one of those storage facilities you can rent because there really is nowhere to stow my oldest son’s stuff. My food bills are astronomical—the boys are apparently spending enough time at the gym to warrant eating four dozen eggs a week, protein shakes, oceans of fish, etc. and I find myself at the grocery store almost every day. I actually cannot keep up with the quantity of food they are consuming or the amount of laundry they are generating.
There are 2 AM feedings for my oldest son, their beds are rarely made (unless I make them myself), there are often dirty dishes in the sink and I am constantly tripping over large shoes which have been left in every room of the house. For an OCD person (and light sleeper) such as myself, it has been a lot to handle, all while trying to keep my youngest son, who is in high school, focused on his finals (which are thankfully over now.)
But here’s the part that surprised me. After four years of college and three years of graduate school, my oldest son is really a grown-up. Perhaps because he has fewer local friends now or maybe because he has so much studying to do with the bar exam coming up next month, or (and this is my favorite theory) possibly because he is happy to be with me, we have been spending quality time together.
Almost every day (after he’s eaten his five eggs for breakfast) he says, “Mom, do you want to get some lunch?” And almost every day I have said “yes.”
We sit in town together and chat and catch up on things, sort of like friends. We have not spent this much time together since he was in nursery school. In the past when he was home, he would dash in and out to meet friends or go to work and we would argue about the things mothers and teens tend to argue about. But now, with his schooling done, a job he will be starting in the fall, and a girlfriend with whom he (perhaps) will create his future, there’s really nothing left to fight about.
We chat more as two adults now, although paradoxically I feel that I’ve gotten one more chance to have my boy back before he flies the nest– this time for good. I know that it’s likely he will never be home for this length of time again—a night or two will be all we get.
When my son moves into his new apartment in Manhattan in a few weeks I will be happy to have his stuff out of the house; however, I will truly miss him. This time together, which I had admittedly not looked forward to, has turned out to be a special gift—one that I will always remember and cherish. When he is gone again, I will look at his immaculate room and remember how great it was to have him home. Perhaps after he starts work, I will text him and ask if he wants to get lunch in the city. In the meantime, I am glad his brothers are still home and am delighted that the summer I dreaded is turning out to be one of the best summers of my life. And I still got to write my blog post, even if it turned out differently than the one I expected to write.
More by Marlene Kern Fischer:
Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons, food shopper extraordinaire and blogger. In addition to Grown and Flown, her work has been featured in Kveller, Ten to Twenty Parenting, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Better After 50, Beyond Your Blog and Her View From Home.