This is what I said when my oldest son, a college junior, asked if he could bring his friends home during a three-day weekend. It was not the first time he’d asked to bring people home, and I am certain that it won’t be the last. I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“Come home, bring whoever, we can’t wait to see you!”
So in they came – with their pillows, bags, backpacks, shoes, computers, phones, chargers. And their presence filled the house.
Our living room was turned into a slumber party
I made lots of food to fill their bellies, and let them raid the snacks in the pantry. The living room was turned into a slumber party, complete with sleeping bags and blankets. But aside from making sure the kids had anything they needed, I mostly went about my business and let them relax and unwind.
The group sat around the kitchen counter and talked about all kinds of things. They remarked about classes, teachers, and what assignments were coming due when they got back to school. There was quite a bit of chatting about intramural team sports, as well as the upcoming NFL playoffs. The topics of schoolmates, relationships, and housing options for senior year made for some hearty conversations.
I listened to the students telling their stories
I was amused by their easy-going banter, and their obvious camaraderie. The occasional bursts of laughter, which resulted from a shared inside joke or story, made me smile. I skirted outside the realm in which they dwelled, and enjoyed their youthful energy. Occasionally, I would share a story or memory from my college days – allowing myself to tiptoe into their world for just a moment.
But my heart was bursting the whole time…
Taking the first boy to college had definitely been an emotional experience. But when we pulled away after moving him in, I felt confident that he was in the right place. I hoped that he would soon start making connections that would result in lifelong friendships. I prayed he would create the memories and bonds that are so unique to college life.
I loved to see that my son found his tribe
But this–this was something better than I ever could have envisioned. These people gathered in my kitchen, sprawled about the living room, staying up late, and just enjoying each other’s company, they are his tribe. I can see for myself how much they care about each other, and my momma heart is overflowing.
To see that he has found such a great group of friends is priceless. Being able to get to know these “kids,” and offer them a home away from home, is such a blessing.
Because we always want our boys to come home. That will always, forever, be a yes. Home is the safe place to land. It is where you can come to recharge, refresh, and refocus. Coming home reminds you of who you are, and provides stable ground when things get shaky.
We want our house to always feel like home to our kids and their friends
We want our house to feel like this, no matter where our kids go or what they do. Of course we knew our son would be home during breaks and the summer, but the fact that he invites his friends here makes us feel very grateful. We can’t ask for a greater compliment than that.
You may be on the verge of college parenting, or perhaps that is a stage which is years away. There is only so much you can do to prepare your heart for that leap. But if you have raised your children on a foundation of love, it will come back to you.
More importantly, the kids themselves will be eager to return. Best of all – they may even bring their friends.
They will choose to come home. And the answer is always a yes.
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