My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) has decided to unpack — just a week before he re-packs for his return to South Bend.

What’s up with that?

When he came home nearly three months ago, he’d hoped to find a job, particularly in his major OR doing anything at a “name” business (things that would look good on his budding resume and give him some valuable experience).

It wasn’t to be.

Try as he might, there was nothing available.

So he toyed with the idea of going back and taking summer classes — not a particularly desirable option, as he’d spent last summer doing just that.

Eventually, he decided to stay home — “independent study,” he called it. He ordered a stack of books recommended by his professors and proceeded to read through them, soaking up a wealth of information that will help him along the way (without having to worry about time or grades!).

You’d have thought that somewhere along the line, he’d want to unpack. I thought he would. But no.

Whenever he needed something that was still in a suitcase or box or container, he dug in, fished it out, and left the rest of the stuff neatly packed.

I asked him about it, and he told me he didn’t want to inadvertently leave something important behind when he headed off for Fall Term.

Sounds logical.

It also hastened the time it took to go through his stuff and make a list of what he needed to replenish.

Still, the mom in me can’t help but wonder — despite how much he loves being on campus — if maybe, just maybe, a part of him will miss being at home.

Yeah, that’s gotta be it.

Even then, he won’t miss home as much as we’ll miss him!

Take the Bad with the Good

While wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart recently, I couldn’t help noticing how many babies and tiny tots there were — in car seats, baskets, somebody’s arms, toddling behind parents.

Every stage in life is beautiful in its own way, but I’ve gotta admit there are so many things I don’t miss about being the mom of an infant or little child:

  • Diapers. Ugh, the stench! They were like the Energizer bunny, too — kept coming and coming….
  • Interrupted sleep. You do what you’ve got to do, but that getting-up-every-two-hours stuff is for the birds.
  • Paraphernalia. Baby bottles, special toys, diaper bags, strollers, Cheerios, books — anything to keep the kid entertained for a few seconds!
  • Sleepovers. How many parents have patience to supervise six to eight small boys for an entire night, knowing those boys’ parents are probably out enjoying themselves with dinner and a movie?
  • Birthday parties. From invitations to party favors to choice of location this is a lesson in organization, conciliation, and often aggravation!
  • Candyland. Who invented that inane game, anyway?
  • Temper tantrums. Okay, mine didn’t do this one (seriously!), but having observed other parents try to coax or bribe or threaten their kids when they refused to behave, it’s going on the list.

Now, before all of you start thinking I’m a rotten mother (which My Favorite Domer will assure you I’m most definitely not!), there are some things I do miss about his childhood:

  • That “sweet baby” smell. The one that’s a combination of “sleep” and “clean clothes” and “baby powder.”
  • Impromptu flowers. Usually dandelions, but it was the thought that counted!
  • Rocks. Playing outfield during Tee-ball was a good time for MFD to fill his pockets with “special” rocks. He never seemed to know what made them special, though.
  • Reading together. Every night, we’d read stacks of books (that is, I acted out the stories while he giggled and begged for more). Silly me, I listened to the “experts” who promised that reading to a child would make a “reader” out of them. Yeah, right!
  • Crayon pictures. Art projects in the early grades are great at keeping parents informed on their child’s budding future as the next Picasso!
  • Learning new things. And watching that “light bulb moment” when an idea or skill takes hold.
  • Little notes. Sometimes it was an apology, other times it was a thank you, but often I found scrawled notes left for me after MFD went to bed — things he meant deeply but didn’t feel comfortable expressing out loud. The acorn just doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?!
  • Big hugs. Oh, yeah. Does any mom ever get enough of them?

How sad life would have been without all these special moments!

Flying away

My favorite Domer has been home just over a week now, and it’s rained almost every day.


No tennis. No golf. No outside barbecues.

Shoot, I’m struggling to walk my pudgy pooch between showers!

Yet every day your kids are home feels like a holiday.

You parents with little kids don’t understand this. You’re not supposed to.

Deep inside, you’re thinking, “Just give me a few hours to myself — away from the taxi-ing to and from activities, away from the incessant unanswerable questions (why do birds have wings?), away from the internal and external pressures of parenting.”

But trust me, you’ll live to eat those words!

I know I am.

People older and wiser than I told me to “enjoy every minute with your little ones.” I did, but sometimes, when the pressures added up and it felt like I’d never have another moment’s peace, I found myself wishing for an island somewhere, a place I could go ALL BY MYSELF where there were no responsibilities and every day was sunny. . . .

But that’s pie-in-the-sky, isn’t it?

Watching your darling fly away from the nest (whether it’s to college, marriage, the armed forces, or a job clear across the country) leaves you with a bittersweet ache in your heart.

You miss them, certainly, but it’s right that they grow up — and go away.

Congratulate yourself — you’ve given them roots and wings!

Besides, their flight frees you to do some of the things you always wanted to.

To reinvent yourself, as it were.

Unless, of course, you have other “little birds” still at home.

Then all bets are off!